Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 147.8 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 3.12 million. In South Africa, there have been 1,101 new cases, taking the total reported to 1,575,471. Deaths have reached 54,148 (a daily increase of 23), while recoveries have climbed to 1,501,185, leaving the country with a balance of 20,138 active cases. The vaccine rollout is still paused.
- Resumed: South Africa is expected to resume the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine from Wednesday, following the programme being paused on blood clotting concerns. In the US it was found that 6 women, out of 6 million people given the shot, developed blood clotting as a side-effect. This led to a pause of the vaccine in the US, UK and South Africa. However, having not found any case of blood clotting in South Africa, the vaccine has been cleared for use once again. South Africa has secured millions of J&J doses. [ENCA]
- Waste: Government has admitted that more than half of South Africa’s 1,150 water treatment plants are in critical condition, but further investigation shows that the vast majority of wastewater facilities are not achieving required compliance levels. As a result, many areas in South Africa have to deal with raw sewage and industrial waste spilling onto the streets, bringing with it severe health and environmental conditions. [Daily Maverick]
- Skills: Professional and engineering bodies are criticising the Department of Water and Sanitation for bringing in 24 Cuban engineers to assist with infrastructure issues, when many skilled engineers in South Africa are sitting without work. These associations claim that they sent a list of 230 engineers in South Africa to the department in March 2020 – however the department denies this and says it has no database of local talent. The agreement for the deployment of the Cubans was signed in February 2020. They will be working in South Africa at a cost of R64 million. [TimesLive]
- Taxing: For every rand you pay towards the Road Accident Fund when filling up with petrol, only 45 cents actually reaches the pockets of victims of accidents – the balance goes to paying lawyers and administration costs, the fund’s CEO says. The RAF is currently facing collapse, with a deficit of over R320 billion. It collects approximately R43 billion through the RAF levy on fuel, of which only R26 billion gets paid out. The remaining R17 billion goes to admin costs, of which, R10.6 billion goes to legal fees. [BI]
- Markets: The dollar continues to portray a weakening bias with ongoing expectations for the Fed to maintain its current stance that won’t see monetary tightening anytime soon. The local market is seeing a slow start to the week, with many South Africans taking a long weekend in light of tomorrow’s public holiday. US durable goods orders are due this afternoon. The rand remains within its narrow range, opening the week at R14.26/$, R17.28/€ and R19.83/£. [Citadel Global]