Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 139.7 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 3 million. In South Africa, there have been 1,372 new cases, taking the total reported to 1,562,931. Deaths have reached 53,571 (a daily increase of 73), while recoveries have climbed to 1,488,060, leaving the country with a balance of 21,300 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 292,623.
- All systems go: Health minster Dr Zweli Mkhize has launched the Electronic Vaccination Data System for the second phase of the vaccine rollout, which is expected to start in May. The system is now open for people over the age of 60 to register, among others, starting 16h00 today. You need your ID and medical aid card – where applicable – as well as a cellphone number and address. You will be notified by SMS when you are able to go to your selected vaccination centre. South Africa’s vaccination task team is confident that 67% of the population will be vaccinated within the current timeframe, with the best-case scenario achieving the goal by December 2021. [ENCA]
- Action: Residents in Joburg have again taken it upon themselves to deliver their own services, fixing potholes on the roads as the municipal Roads Agency has failed to address the problem. Residents in Roodepoort forked over R10,000 and got support from local businesses to start repairing the potholes. The JRA eventually sent teams to fix other potholes in the area, but only after months of complaints and the private repair actions gaining media attention. Communities are increasingly taking services into their own hands, including security, repairs and maintenance, as government has failed to deliver. [Moneyweb]
- Alcohol ban: A back and forth between policy experts and the alcohol industry has erupted over a report – commissioned by drinks maker Distell – which posited that trauma reductions during lockdown were as a result of curfew, not the ban on alcohol as government said. However, the South African Alcohol Policy Alliance said that the findings were questionable, because it’s known that both alcohol control and things like curfew worked to stop trauma cases, and it wasn’t only one or the other. While it understands that businesses struggle under alcohol bans, SAAPA said that reforms and tighter controls are still needed to curb alcohol abuse in the country. [News24 – paywall]
- ANC infighting: Factions with in the ANC are sowing further divisions, with party deputy secretary general, Jesse Duarte, accusing secretary general Ace Magashule’s supporters of leaking confidential discussions to the public in a bid to destroy the party. Duarte was heard defending Jacob Zuma and advising that he remain firm in his defiance of the State Capture Commission. However, she now says the recordings were manipulated. Divisions in the ANC are well known, but in recent weeks have flared up publicly, with leaders openly attacking each other on social media. [EWN]
- Markets: The Chinese economy leapt a massive 18.3% in Q1 as it recovers following the pandemic, bolstering the sentiment that a global recovery is well underway. Risk appetite is soaring, with the rand remaining one of the best performing currencies globally, with local yields remaining appealing to investors. Chinese retail sales overshot expectations this morning, while unemployment remained steady. EU CPI is due this morning. The rand put on a stellar performance yesterday, gaining significant ground to start the final session of the week at R14.20/$, R16.98/€ and R19.54/£. [Citadel Global]