Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 163.7 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 3.4 million. In South Africa, there have been 2,585 new cases, taking the total reported to 1,613,728. Deaths have reached 55,210 (+27), while recoveries have climbed to 1,524,352, leaving the country with a balance of 34,166 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 478,733 (+0).
- Phase 2: South Africa’s second phase of the Covis-19 vaccine rollout commences today, with government targetting 6.5 million people over the next six months, as well as the remaining 500,000 healthcare workers who were not vaccinated during phase 1. Health minister Zweli Mkhize has warned that South Africans should be aware that receiving the vaccine does not guarantee complete immunity to Covid-19 and that all standard protective measures, like mask wearing and santising, need to continue. He also warned that the vaccines carry mild side-effects, which include flu-like symptoms, which should subside after two or three days. [TimesLive]
- Business rescue: Another iconic South African brand, CNA, is reportedly in financial trouble and trying to avoid business rescue processes. However, creditors are being left in the dark, leaving the situation uncertain. According to Moneyweb, the group has not paid several creditors for months, while trying to work out payment plans. There has also been a breakdown between the board and the CEO, it said. CNA was wrapped up in former owner Edcon’s woes, and creditors were already burned by that saga, where they are only likely to receive 4 cents on the rand through that group’s business rescue plan. [Moneyweb]
- Zuma trial: The corruption trial of Jacob Zuma and arms company Thales is supposed to kick off in the Pietermaritzburg high court today; however, without a legal team, the former president’s strategy is unclear. Some legal experts have opined that without legal representation, the case may yet again be postponed. Zuma’s supporters say the legal system is being used to fight political battles, while his critics say the court battle is long overdue. Th state has prepared over 200 witnesses for the trial, with a delay likely to caused further upset and frustration over a process that has been a decade in the making. [EWN]
- Not sorry: Suspended ANC secretary general Ace Magashule will not apologise to president Cyril Ramaphosa for sending him a letter of suspension. Instead, he has filed papers to the courts trying to challenge his suspension, and the step-aside rule adopted by the party. Magashule is arguing that the step aside rule in place is different to the resolution adopted by the party in 2017, and that it is being used by Ramaphosa and his ‘faction’ within the party to wage political battles. He said he cannot apologise because it would not be a genuine apology. He would only do so if compelled to by the courts. Magashule has zero support from any of the ANC’s decision-making structures. [Daily Maverick]
- Markets: South Africa’s rand firmed on Friday as global risk demand was aided by signs the United States central bank would keep lending rates low despite rising inflation. The rand, which hit a 16-month high on Tuesday, has had a strong run since March, prompted by lower rates in the developed world, a surge in global commodity prices and signs the local economy is on track for a better-than-expected recovery. On Monday the rand started the week at R14.16/$, R17.17/€ and R19.94/£. [Reuters]