Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 155.8 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 3.26 million. In South Africa, there have been 2,073 new cases, taking the total reported to 1,588,221. Deaths have reached 54,557 (+46), while recoveries have climbed to 1,510,385, leaving the country with a balance of 23,279 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 353,181 (+13,526).
- Suspended: The ANC’s factions are butting heads over the suspension of party secretary general Ace Magashule, who is standing defiant and against the will of the party’s structures. President Cyril Ramaphosa got permission from structures this week to suspend the SG, which happened late on Wednesday. Defying the order, Magashule issued a statement saying he was suspending Ramaphosa. The SG insists he still holds the position as is he appealing the decision to suspend him. He says only a party conference can remove him. The ANC called on Magashule to respect the party’s decisions. A suspended Magashule can no longer represent the party publicly, and does not speak on its behalf. [EWN]
- Power supply: As South Africa marches towards winter, Eskom’s production data shows that the power utility is already struggling to meet rising demand in the evenings. Power shortfalls are occurring despite interrupted power supply to large customers, and the implementation of other contingencies. The data shows that at peaks this week, almost all open cycle gas turbines were being used to supplement power. Eskom managed to keep the lights on by dipping into reserves. While things remain tight, the outlook for the rest of the year shows improvement. [Moneyweb]
- Vaccines: Despite having produced vaccines locally in the past, and having the facilities to be involved in vaccine production today, South Africa hasn’t produced any shots from start to finish in more than two decades. According to a report by Bhekisisa, our lack of vaccine production is because of various factors, but the main one is that our local facilities have failed to keep up with rapidly-changing technological advancements in vaccine production. Another factor is a lack of skill and capability in managing the fundamentals of vaccine development on an industrial scale, as well as not having the necessary machinery available. [Bhekisisa]
- Please call me: Nkosana Makate says he deserves billions from Vodacom for suggesting a Please Call Me service to the company. Vodacom, however, feels that its R47 million offer is fair. Makate asked for 15% of all revenue Vodacom accrued through the Please Call Me service, which he placed at around R10 billion. Having rejected Vodacom’s offer, which was a result of a Constitutional Court ruling saying the company was bound by the agreement, Makate is now asking the court to once again intervene and determine how much is owed to him, or to give stricter guidance on how Vodacom needs to calculate the compensation. [MyBroadband]
- Markets: A weaker dollar and raging commodity prices have driven the rand back to pre-pandemic levels. However, it remains on the back foot, generally, in line with soft sentiment across global markets, a background that typically hampers the ‘risk on’ South African currency. Markets are keeping a close eye on an expected ratings review by Moody’s on Friday, watching whether South Africa’s sovereign rating will de downgraded further in to junk. On Thursday the rand was trading at R14.37/$, R17.25/€ and R19.98/£.