Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 151.1 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 3.18 million. In South Africa, there have been 1,086 new cases, taking the total reported to 1,579,536. Deaths have reached 54,331 (+46), while recoveries have climbed to 1,504,426, leaving the country with a balance of 20,779 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 307,591 (+9,438).
- Collapse: The latest Ratings Afrika Municipal Financial Sustainability Index (MFSI) shows that it will take R51 billion to prevent South Africa’s municipalities from total collapse – a burden that will undoubtedly be carried by taxpayers. The group found that revenue collection rates at municipalities have been dropping, with R18 of every R100 remaining uncollected. The report noted the very apparent deterioration of infrastructure in SA municipalities, such as crumbling roads, sewer spillage, and water or electricity disruptions, which are now widespread across the country. [Moneyweb]
- Still here: ANC secretary general Ace Magashule’s deadline to step aside from his position in the party has passed, and by all accounts, nothing has changed. Instead, he will reportedly be given yet another lifeline – an opportunity to appeal the ANC integrity commission’s findings against him. Former North West ANC chairperson, Supra Mahumapelo, also remains an ANC member, despite being instructed to resign. His lifeline is also an appeal process against the order. [News24, ENCA]
- Powerships: A jilted firm is asking the high court to overturn government’s appointment of preferred bidders for the supply of emergency power, claiming the tender process was “grossly and blatantly flawed, corrupt and procedurally unfair”. The lion’s share went to the Karpowership consortium. The boss of DNG Power, the other bidder, is claiming that a ‘sinister meeting’ took place between top officials and alleged associates of the mineral resources and energy minister, which helped the group secure the bid. [AmaBhungane]
- Party line: President Cyril Ramaphosa continued to toe the party line at the State Capture Commission, alluding to ANC ‘delays’ and ‘lapses’ in dealing with corrupt activity between members and businesses in matters of state – but not venturing into any territory where the party would accept responsibility for it, or acknowledge that certain activity was perpetuated with malicious intent. Instead of focusing on why things like public enterprises were failing because of acts of party members, Ramaphosa rather repeated promises that the party was helping turn things around. [Daily Maverick]
- Markets: We end the week with few new developments aside from the new US stimulus plan, and the continuation of a dovish Fed. Locally, the Zondo commission continues to expose the factions within the local governing party, dating as far back as 1994. Markets continue to keep an eye on Covid-19 cases in developing countries such as India, while the developed world starts living closer to normality. The rand remains on steady ground, albeit range bound, with little momentum for a sustainable break either way. We start the day at R14.29/$, R17.32/€ and R19.94/£. [Citadel Global]