Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 132.4 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 2.87 million. In South Africa, there have been 452 new cases, taking the total reported to 1,552,416. Deaths have reached 52,995 (a daily increase of 8), while recoveries have climbed to 1,478,088, leaving the country with a balance of 21,333 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 269,102.
- Extra charge: Th City of Johannesburg will for the third year in a row attempt to introduce an additional charge on those using prepaid electricity metres, proposing a R200 ‘capacity charge’ be billed on residential customers on prepaid, and R400 on business customers. Depending on how much electricity is used, this could see some bills go up by 50%, amid all the other increases for water, sewage and other services coming into effect. [Moneyweb]
- Rising fuel prices: Motorists are in for hefty price increases at the pumps tomorrow, with petrol prices expected to rise by R1.00 per litre, and diesel by 65 cents per litre. The price increases are being driven by rising international fuel costs as a result of surging oil prices, a weaker rand/dollar exchange rate, as well as the addition of 27 cents per litre in taxes which came into effect at the start of April. [BusinessTech]
- Catastrophe: Eskom warns that the integrity of its systems will be at risk if software group Oracle pulls its services over a pay dispute. Oracle provides a range of technical services for Eskom, which it says it crucial to operations. However, Oracle claimed that it has been underpaid by R7.3 billion, which was later reduced to R400 million. Eskom is only willing to pay R166 million. Oracle has now threatened to discontinue its services. Eskom has approached the courts to intervene. [MyBroadband]
- Guptas: It seems as if the Gupta family will escape the State Capture Commission’s net, with the commission expected to finish up its work by the end of April, and no sign from the Guptas or their representatives that they will be appearing to answer the allegations against them. The family has been named by witnesses as implicated persons in the state capture saga almost 40 times. Former president Jacob Zuma has faced a similar number. Both Zuma and the Guptas have refused to take part in the commission. [Daily Maverick]
- Markets: After ending the previous session at R14.54/$ with the dollar in softer terrain, the rand is holding onto its recent gains as South Africa gets back to work after the long weekend. Unemployment rates from the EU will be monitored today as well as JOLTs job openings from the US. We will also keep an ear to the ground for the IMF meeting taking place this afternoon which will guide us in terms of its global economic recovery forecast. Locally there is little new on the horizon, while the geopolitical tension in Mozambique remains relevant. We start the day at R14.58/$, R17.22/€ and R20.26/£. [Citadel Global]