Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 128.8 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 2.81 million. In South Africa, there have been 756 new cases, taking the total reported to 1,546,735. Deaths have reached 52,788 (a daily increase of 78), while recoveries have climbed to 1,473,588, leaving the country with a balance of 20,359 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 251,707.
- On track: President Cyril Ramaphosa and health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize have both assured the nation that South Africa’s vaccine rollout is on track – despite missing initial targets, and only vaccinating 250,000 people in 41 days. The president said that South Africa has secured enough doses of various Covid vaccines to inoculate the targeted population, but most of these will only be delivered on a quarterly basis, starting from mid-April. Mkhize said that government is targeting 200,000 vaccinations per day, once the rollout is in full swing. [TimesLive]
- Lockdown: Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has gazetted the latest lockdown adjustments for South Africa, giving effect to the changes announced by the president on Tuesday night. The rules are for a temporary ‘snap lockdown’ over Easter, which will see alcohol sales restricted once again, while room for religious gatherings has been broadened. The allowance for bigger gatherings will be reviewed in two weeks’ time, and may become the new normal. [BusinessTech]
- Charged: More details have emerged on Eskom’s plans to charge customers who feed back electricity to the national grid through solar power. Typically, Eskom would pay customers who ultimately generate electricity for the grid – however, under the new proposed fee structure, this payment would not negate the hike in fees charged. A Moneyweb breakdown also explains how some users wll be paying fixed rates at certain times, regardless of the power consumed. [Moneyweb]
- Step aside: While much of the focus of the ANC’s step-aside rules has been on party secretary general Ace Magashule, the ANC has a relatively long list of politicians and members – some who serve in government – who have also been charged with crimes, who should also ostensibly step aside with the secretary general. This includes MPs, mayors and other officials. The Daily Maverick has broken down a few stand-out names, and the charges they face. [Daily Maverick]
- Markets: The rand showed little reaction last night to President Ramaphosa’s additional measures to prevent a Covid-19 third wave starting over the Easter weekend. Traffic resumed in the Suez Canal on Tuesday after the container ship blocking it for almost a week was finally freed on Monday. As the markets are winding down towards the long weekend, today sees European inflation figures followed by US housing data. The rand is trading at R14.93/$, R17.48/€ and R20.50/£. [Citadel Global]