Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 114.7 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 2.54 million. In South Africa, there have been 1,168 new cases, taking the total reported to 1,519,393. Deaths have reached 49,993 (a daily increase of 52), while recoveries have climbed to 1,430,259, leaving the country with a balance of 33,141 active cases.
- Tiny tax base: Under 6% of the South African population is paying 92% of personal tax in the country, according to Econometrix chief economist and director Azar Jammine – who adds that the same group pays about 85% of all VAT. South Africans, even a significant number of taxpayers in lower-income brackets, are also heavily reliant on high-income earners, who pay the bulk of the taxes. [Moneyweb]
- Third wave: Despite the move back to lockdown level 1, president Cyril Ramaphosa has echoed warnings from health experts that the country could soon face a third wave of Covid-19, as the winter months approach, and the vaccination programme rolls out in phases. Eased lockdown shouldn’t be viewed as a reason to abandon precautions and non-pharmaceutical methods of prevention. South Africans are urged to keep social distancing, sanitising, and mask wearing. [TimesLive]
- Damage done: South Africa’s tourism and hospitality industry is aching to get back to business, with restaurants, bars, and popular tourist destinations still tending to their wounds from lockdown. Restaurants and bars are thankful for the narrowed curfew hours, which will allow them to operate for longer, while SANParks is hoping to get back to normal revenues after suffering a huge blow to its financials over the past year. [ENCA, EWN]
- Deadly force: Police minister Bheki Cele has called on police officers to defend themselves and use deadly force when doing so, after six cops were killed in incidents over 10 days. Speaking at the funeral of the officers, the minister said the SAPS was shocked by the killings, and said that police should respond to criminals “decisively”, and remember that the law is on their side when they use deadly force to defend themselves. [News24]
- Markets: A rebound in the bond market, following staggering spikes in yields over the course of last week brought some calm to the market in the overnight session, with the rand clawing back some lost ground following a touch on R15.20 to the dollar. Manufacturing PMI is due from the UK, EU and US today while the release of vehicle sales is scheduled locally for this afternoon. The rand starts the week at R15.02 to the dollar, R18.15 to the euro and R21.02 to the pound. [Citadel Global]