Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 88 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 1.9 million. In South Africa, there have been 20,999 new cases, taking the total reported to 1,170,590. Deaths have reached 31,809 (a daily increase of 441), while recoveries have climbed to 938,216, leaving the country with a balance of 200,565 active cases.
- Taxis: As the number of Covid-19 cases continues to surge, taxi commuters are fully aware of the danger they are in. A taxi rank in Limpopo has seen a major spike in the number of infections and deaths linked to the area – yet drivers and owners continue to operate, even when testing positive. Commuters have complained about a lack of sanitisation, which was last seen consistently done during the April lockdown, while drivers have also called for government intervention to clamp down on passengers that refuse to wear masks. [TimesLive]
- Third wave: The Western Cape has warned of a third wave of Covid-19 in South Africa, if government does not deliver the vaccine speedily in the country. The province is currently in the peak of its second wave, with some of the worst-hit areas – such as the Garden Route – already passed the peak. However, without the vaccine in distribution, infections are bound to increase once again, the province warned. However, more is known about the virus now, so they are better prepared. [ENCA]
- Vaccine rollout: President Cyril Ramaphosa, as head of the ANC, has reached out to a broad spectrum of players in society, saying that government cannot deal with the vaccine rollout on its own, needing support from all stakeholders. he likened it to the IEC and the elections, where parties come together and reach out to around 20 million people. Except this time, the numbers will be twice that. The president said the vaccine is a game changer in the fight against the virus. [Daily Maverick]
- Double blow: SAB says it has had to suspend two vital conditions that were part of its merger with AB InBev – securing jobs and continued investment in South Africa. This is as a direct result of the alcohol ban, it said in court papers. SAB is taking government to court over the ban, challenging the constitutionality of it. The suspension of the conditions comes as South Africa desperately needs both, with record levels of unemployment, and a need for investment to boost economic growth. [BusinessLive]
- Markets: South Africa’s rand slumped more than 2% against the dollar on Thursday, taking losses since last week to almost 5%, as investor sentiment soured badly on rising Covid-19 infections, a worrying public debt trajectory and the stronger dollar. On Friday the rand was at R15.40 to the dollar, R 18.88 to the euro, and R20.89 to the pound. Commentary by Reuters. [XE]