Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 117.75 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 2.61 million. In South Africa, there have been 638 new cases, taking the total reported to 1,521,706. Deaths have reached 50,803 (a daily increase of 125), while recoveries have climbed to 1,442,045, leaving the country with a balance of 28,858 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 107,054.
- TV tax: Pay-TV operator Multichoice has backed the SABC’s call for a household tax to be implemented to help fund the ailing public broadcaster. The SABC wants the levy to applied to all households, irrespective of their consumption of SABC content – if they have access to public channels, they need t pay. Where Multichoice and SABC differ on the proposal is the collection – the SABC wants groups like Multichoice to help collect the levy, but the media group says this should be SARS’ task. [BusinessLive]
- Defiant: The ANC’s top six officials have decided to give Jacob Zuma ‘space’, and allow him time to consult his legal team around his refusal to abide by the Constitutional Court order that he should appear before the state capture commission. The party had attempted to convince Zuma to change his mind, but failed. The former president is continuing his defiance of the Constitutional Court and state capture commission processes, unopposed by anyone in government. [TimesLive]
- Hot seat: Former Transnet and Eskom CEO, Brian Molefe, continues his time in the hot seat at the state capture commission, admitting that he was close to the Gupta family, who have been accused of being key orchestrator of vast networks of corruption in government. Molefe has denied being involved in any corrupt activity at the state companies, and gave some clarity on the R30 million pension that was ‘accidentally’ paid out to him. [ENCA, EWN, MyBroadband]
- Spy hard: The police ministry is looking into allegations that South African journalists are being bugged and spied on, over their investigation of infighting within the Crime Intelligence unit. It was reported this week that insiders had informed the journalists in question of the surveillance. Police minister Bheki Cele said he would ‘seek clarity’ on the matter. South Africa’s surveillance laws were recently declared unconstitutional, making the alleged operations legally dubious. [News24]
- Markets: The rand is steady this morning, after shedding close on 1% yesterday as emerging market assets continue to feel the pinch. Gold hit its lowest level since June 2020, as US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen assured the nation that the stimulus package will aid a very strong economic recovery. On the data front, local and EU GDP take the spotlight today. The rand kicks the day off at R15.51 to the dollar, R18.39 to the euro and R21.46 the pound. [Citadel Global]