Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 112.3 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 2.5 million. In South Africa, there have been 792 new cases, taking the total reported to 1,504,588. Deaths have reached 49,150 (a daily increase of 97), while recoveries have climbed to 1,413,566, leaving the country with a balance of 41,872 active cases.
- Lessons learned: With the third wave of Covid-19 around three or four months away, health experts are reflecting on the second wave and lessons learned. To avoid mass infection and death in future waves, South Africa has to become better at genome sequencing to identify new variants, faster. It should also target complacency among the population, and also address the problem of binge drinking that caused complications with the country’s health response. [Bhekisisa]
- No free ride: Matriculants who are heading off to university this year will not be given any free rides, with universities not trimming or diluting courses to accommodate those who may have struggled through the matric year under difficult conditions. However, learning support programmes will be made available to those who may be struggling academically. Universities do not want to compromise the quality of degrees and diplomas, but are trying to bridge any gaps or deficiencies as a result of Covid-19. [TimesLive]
- Getting ready: South Africa’s tourism sector is eager to open and get back to trading, but says that it is unlikely to see any recovery in 2021 – only next year. Despite this, plans are in place to invest and prepare the sector for the return to full operation. With lockdowns still in place, travel severely restricted, and the vaccine rollout progressing slowly, tourism is simply not happening, SA Tourism said. However, things need to be done right now to prepare – including sorting out South Africa’s visa issues, it said. 
- Jail time: The State Capture Commission wants to lay contempt charges against former president Jacob Zuma, who continues to defy the country’s Constitutional Court by not participating in or co-operating with the commission. It is seeking to jail Zuma for two years, and wants police minister Bheki Cele to lead the arrest. Cele and other politicians have been having tea with the former president at his Nkandla compound. Zuma said he does not fear arrest. [ENCA]
- Markets: After shedding value yesterday to trade at R14.95 to the dollar, the rand clawed back some ground in the afternoon. Testimony by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell comes into focus as he is due to testify today and tomorrow on the state of the US economy and its recovery. Local unemployment is the key release for today, while the UK is also on course to release unemployment numbers. EU CPI will follow this afternoon. The rand starts the day at R14.63 to the dollar, R17.81 to the euro and R20.60 to the pound. [Citadel Global]