Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 124.3 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 2.73 million. In South Africa, there have been 599 new cases, taking the total reported to 1,538,451. Deaths have reached 52,196 (a daily increase of 85), while recoveries have climbed to 1,463,953, leaving the country with a balance of 22,302 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 182,983.
- Slow: The private sector is getting impatient with government’s slow rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine, with many attempting – and failing – to secure their own doses for employees and their families, meeting with a lot of red tape. Government has managed to only vaccinate around 5,500 people a day since the rollout starting on 17 February. Some businesses calculate that they would be able to vaccinate 60,000 people a day, given the chance. The government has monopolised vaccine sourcing, with producers only doing deals there for the time being. [TimesLive]
- Second: More information on Cape Town’s planned ‘second airport’ has emerged. The Cape Winelands Airport aims to become an alternative to Cape Town International, like Lanseria is to OR Tambo in Johannesburg. However, operations manager of the group says that there is room for the airport to handle non-scheduled flights and other services which are currently ‘taking up space’ at CTIA. The plan to convert the airport into a bigger operation with scheduled flights will take many years, it said. [MyBroadband]
- Protests: Student protests are set to continue this week, with students from 18 universities across the country participating in a ‘national shutdown’. Students are meeting with the Department of Higher Education over their demands, which includes fulfilling the promise of free education and scrapping historical debt. Protests have been ongoing for over a week, where one person was killed through police action. Students are planning a march on the Union Buildings. [ENCA]
- Ace: ANC NEC members are openly warning against the confusion tactics of the party’s secretary general, Ace Magashule, who has been pushing his supporters in the party to defy ‘guidance’ from leadership. He has sown confusion around the parliamentary vote to initiate proceedings against public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, where he encouraged MPs to vote against the motion. Some ANC NEC members have warned that Magashule is leading a faction within the party that seeks to undermine it to self-serving ends. [Daily Maverick]
- Markets: We kick off the week with market participants looking for signs from policy makers on whether they will intervene in the bond market at all, and how long they will tolerate a rise in yields. UK unemployment is due today, followed by US new home sales. The rand remains below the R15/$ mark as we start this week, even as the range continues to be rather wide. The rand starts the day at R14.78 to the dollar, R17.62 to the euro and R20.44 to the pound. [Citadel Global]