Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 133.7 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 2.9 million. In South Africa, there have been 756 new cases, taking the total reported to 1,553,609. Deaths have reached 53,111 (a daily increase of 79), while recoveries have climbed to 1,479,821, leaving the country with a balance of 20,677 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 278,909.
- Eskom investigation: Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts has given Eskom 90 days to complete its investigation into allegations of racism and abuse of power levelled against its CEO, Andre de Ruyter. Scopa was not happy that Eskom had delayed the investigation by over a year, but agreed to halt its own investigations so as to not do double work. Eskom announced an investigation into the allegations after affidavits and testimony was made to Scopa – including from De Ruyter who is denying the claims. Eskom’s now-suspended chief procurement officer alleges that the Eskom boss made irregular appointments based on race, and hampered his ability to do his job. [EWN]
- SABC woes: While the SABC has announced that 621 of its workers have been retrenched, unions are not yet willing to give up the fight – vowing to take the matter to the Labour Court to challenge the retrenchments. Three unions say they are locked in talks with the broadcaster. Some members are claiming that the SABC was being unreasonable in the offers they made to workers, which coerced them into accepting voluntary retrenchment packages. They also allege that the broadcaster is keeping unqualified workers on the payroll, while also outsourcing work that could have been used to retain employees. [Mail & Guardian]
- Public protector: Parliament has finalised the list of MPs who will be a part of the committee that will probe Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office. The committee comprises 26 members – 11 with voting rights – from 14 parties. The MPs will ultimately decide Mkhwebane’s future. While ANC MPs dominate on the list, it is a representative panel, with a mix of voting members that have both publicly supported and condemned the Public Protector. Mkhwebane has been accused of incompetence, maladministration and abuse of power. [ENCA]
- Divided: Despite calls from Cyril Ramaphosa, speaking as ANC president, that his party toe the line and douse the flames of factionalism within its ranks, it appears the wedges between different interests within the ruling party are as wide as ever. This time, Northern Cape Premier Zamani Saul has warned of the so-called Radical Economic Transformation (RET) faction digging in its heels, describing them as the start of a new political movement likely to splinter from the ANC. The RET faction is said to be mobilising in opposition to the ANC’s latest attempt to get its criminally-charged members – including Ace Magashule – to step aside by the end of the month. [Daily Maverick]
- Markets: Minutes of the last US Federal Open Market Committee meeting released last night indicate that the US central bank will continue its accommodative stance until there is sufficient proof of continuous and sustainable economic growth, even if inflation rises above the desired 2% mark. Local manufacturing production will be released today, while the EU will release PPI. The US is set to release jobless claims this afternoon. The rand traded range bound yesterday, as the risk rally took a breather after recent gains. We start the day at R14.56/$, R17.28/€ and R20.02/£. [Citadel Global]