Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 154.2 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 3.23 million. In South Africa, there have been 897 new cases, taking the total reported to 1,584,961. Deaths have reached 54,452 (+35), while recoveries have climbed to 1,508,558, leaving the country with a balance of 21,951 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 329,098 (+10,428).
- Third wave: The Gauteng Health Department has issued a warning over a spike in Covid-19 infections in the province, highlighting cluster outbreaks in Vereeniging, parts of Tshwane, and parts of Johannesburg. The warning follows a release by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases which models the potential path of the third wave of infections in South Africa, noting that Gauteng will be hardest-hit in all of its scenarios. Authorities have warned South Africans to continue obeying lockdown rules and protocols. [ENCA]
- Something to hide: Outa chief executive Wayne Duvenage is questioning what roads agency Sanral has to hide – accusing the group of ‘fobbing off’ requests from the public for more information into the e-tolling contracts with private companies. The CEO said that a lack of transparency in what should be public information leaves matters open to speculation, with reasonable concern that dealings were not above board, and unscrupulous businesses are profiting off taxpayer funds. He said it was unfortunate that the public had to always approach the courts to gain information. [Daily Maverick]
- Deadlock: Discussions between government and public sector unions are ongoing, with late-night negotiations continuing through to Tuesday. Despite this, the deadlock between the parties has not been broken, with both sides firm in their positions. Unions want a 7% wage increase, while government says it has no money for any increase at all. If the deadlock cannot be resolved, at least some of the unions have made it clear they will proceed to secure certificates to go on strike. [News24 – paywall]
- Step aside: President Cyril Ramaphosa has reportedly gained ‘unequivocal’ support to force ANC secretary general Ace Magashule to step aside from the party, pending the outcome of his corruption trial. According to BusinessDay, Magashule told the party’s top officials at the weekend he would not be stepping aside, despite the party’s own ruling that those charged with corruption and other criminal activity should vacate their positions voluntarily within 30 days. Magashule had until 30 April to comply. [BusinessDay – paywall]
- Markets: The South African rand gained on Monday, helped by the US dollar falling as Treasury yields retreated and economic data disappointed. The dollar was down 0.3% against a basket of currencies, after data showed US manufacturing activity grew at a slower pace in April and construction spending rebounded far less than expected in March. A survey also showed South Africa’s manufacturing activity grew less quickly in April, but it did little to affect the rand. Investor attention will soon turn to a scheduled review of South Africa’s sovereign credit by Moody’s on Friday. On Tuesday the rand was trading at R14.44/$, R17.39/€ and R20.04/£. [Reuters]