Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 115.76 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 2.57 million. In South Africa, there have been 1,447 new cases, taking the total reported to 1,516,262. Deaths have reached 50,366 (a daily increase of 95), while recoveries have climbed to 1,434,772, leaving the country with a balance of 31,124 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 83,570.
- Too late: As unions continue their fight for wage increases for last year, government says its simply too late, and there is no money to move around in the country’s budget. Unions have taken the Labour Appeal Court’s ruling in favour of government to the Constitutional Court, in a bid to get Treasury to fork over billions of rands in back-payment. Government reneged on the third year of wage agreements, as it moves to cut R160 billion in spending related to the wage bill. Unions are also demanding a 7% increase for the year ahead. [Moneyweb]
- Private source: While government has admitted in court documents that there is no legal restrictions on private businesses sourcing Covid-19 vaccines in South Africa, experts say the problem lies with the manufacturers of said vaccines. Medical aids have been in contact with vaccine manufacturers to try and source doses, but they are currently only doing business with governments – with large orders and millions of doses taking precedent over smaller amounts private groups are looking for. 
- Big brother: A new report raises concerns around government and the SAPS’ capabilities for digital identification of citizens, using a host of databases – and stated plans to track the DNA of all South Africans in the future. It brings into question the SAPS’ access to civilian databases that rest with the Department of Home Affairs, and the potential this has to be abused without any legal or regulatory oversight. As facial recognition comes under fire globally, South African authorities march ahead with vigour. [Daily Maverick]
- WhatsApp: South Africa’s information regulator says that any plans by Facebook to share contact details between its platforms goes against the country’s privacy laws. Facebook’s new policy will allow it to share personal data – like contact numbers – between its various platforms for business purposes. However, the regulator said that information collected by WhatsApp cannot be shared without first getting permission from the regulator. Data can only be used for the purpose it was originally collected for, it said. [BusinessTech]
- Markets: Slowly rising yields are continuing to see some caution in markets; however, the dollar seems to be lagging behind for now. The rand gained yesterday, trading to a high of R14.88/$, but soon reversed the move in the overnight session. Jobless claims from the US are due today, as well EU retail sales and employment numbers. the rand starts the day a touch weaker at R15.10 to the dollar, R18.20 to the euro and R21.04 to the pound. [Citadel Global]