Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: In South Africa, there have been 11,767 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 1,786,079. Deaths have reached 58,323, while recoveries have climbed to 1,623,319, leaving the country with a balance of 104,437 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 1,974,099.
- Teachers first: South Africa plans to vaccinate 500,000 teachers and other education sector workers in just 10 days as part of the next phase of its vaccine rollout. The Department of Health said that South Africans can expect the arrival of 300,000 vaccines earmarked for educators on Friday. [EWN]
- Schools closing: The vaccination of teachers is seen a vital as schools over 20 schools in Gauteng have been forced to close due to rising Covid-19 infections, disrupting teaching time. Gauteng education spokesperson Steve Mabona says the department is monitoring these developments, with nearly 1,000 teachers and over 2,000 students testing positive. [eNCA]
- Major strike: The risk of local government workers going on strike has increased as two major unions involved in talks indicated that they would reject a proposal by an independent facilitator to cut wages in real terms and freeze other perks over the next three years. The South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) said that early indications show that its members will reject the proposal outright. [BusinessDay]
- Home Affairs: After years of system issues, Home Affairs wants permission from National Treasury to use a private information technology (IT) provider, rather than having to rely on the State IT Agency (SITA). Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said that the IT services provided by SITA were the “original sin” of Home Affairs and that the system was responsible for a large number of the department’s problems. [MyBroadband]
- Markets: The rand reached a four-week low against the dollar on Thursday, after the US Federal Reserve unexpectedly brought forward its projections for interest rate hikes into 2023. Riskier currencies, such as the rand, thrive on US interest rates remaining low because they benefit from the interest rate differential that increases their appeal for carry trade. On Friday morning the rand is trading at R14.08/$, R16.78/€ and R19.59/£.