Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 99.1 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 2.16 million. In South Africa, there have been 8,147 new cases, taking the total reported to 1,412,986. Deaths have reached 40,874 (a daily increase of 300), while recoveries have climbed to 1,230,520, leaving the country with a balance of 141,592 active cases.
- Still no plan: The ANC failed to reveal any plan for the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines at its three-day lekgotla, despite president Cyril Ramaphosa acknowledging before the meeting that people would be looking to the party for directions. Instead, no vaccination timetable or details on funding were presented – and there is no indication on how the party will fulfil its promise of 40 million inoculations. The only mention of vaccines in the post-meeting statement was vague words saying we must prioritise defeating the virus, and building our own vaccine production capacity. [Daily Maverick]
- Hospital crises: As Covid cases continue to rise in South Africa, hospitals are having to put more people into intensive care, and healthcare some healthcare workers are being forced into working 36 hour shifts. Reports from inside hospitals tell tales of trauma, where doctors are having to attend to friends and colleagues, and are also being forced to make split-second decisions on who gets treated or not using very limited resources. Some described the situation to working at a morgue. [EWN]
- Alcohol ban: SA Breweries has retrenched 550 temporary workers as a result of the alcohol ban. The workers’ contracts were reportedly terminated with immediate effect, as the third alcohol ban in the country reduced demand for their particular services. Another alcohol producer, Heineken, previously announced it would retrench 70 workers due to the ban. Brewers have also had to pull billions of rands of investment into the country over the ban, to keep money on hand for business continuity during the ban. [Moneyweb]
- Maskgate: Mpumalanga Premier, Refilwe Mthsweni-Tsipane’s failure to wear a mask in public while attending the funeral of the late Jackson Mthembu will be investigated by police, following backlash from the public. Mthsweni-Tsipane said she hadn’t realised her mask had fallen off. However, South Africans have called for equal treatment by the law, after thousands of citizens were arrested and given a criminal record over the same ‘crime’ in recent weeks. [ENCA]
- Markets: The rand held steady in the overnight session as the key focus of market attention remains the potential stimulus in the US. There is little by way of data today, however markets will keep an ear to the ground for the address by ECB President Lagarde, while the US Fed will come into focus later this week. The rand starts the week at R15.12 to the dollar, R18.40 to the euro and R20.71 to the pound. Commentary by Peregrine Treasury Solutions. [XE]