Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: In South Africa, there have been 11,093 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 1,843,572. Deaths have reached 297 (+59,092), while recoveries have climbed to [1,665,540, leaving the country with a balance of 119,030 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 2,229,242 (+85,038).
- Vaccination: As South Africa continues with its vaccination strategy, a glaring hole in the numbers shows up over the weekend, where only a few thousand people are vaccinated on Saturdays and Sundays compared to the tens of thousands every other day in the week. According to provincial departments, the reason for this is a lack of funding – they cannot afford to pay staff to work over weekends. While departments are working to resolve this, even in the best-case scenario weekend vaccinations will only start happening from July in places like the Western Cape. [News24]
- Crypto scam: South Africa has suffered another apparent crypto scam – much larger than the losses from the MTI scam. The Africrypt scheme reportedly suffered a ‘hack’ in April 2021, in which the equivalent of R54 billion was swiped from directors’ wallets. However, the so-called hack is under suspicion of being something more sinister, with the Africrypt founders disappearing to the UK around the same time, according to reports. The matter is being investigated by several authorities. [Moneyweb]
- Unaccounted: The latest audit of municipalities in South Africa has given the ‘all clear’ to just 27 of them, out of the 257 assessed. This is 10 fewer than in 2017 when the current group of lawmakers and officials took office. Adding to the frustration, around R5.5 billion was spent over the latest audit period in 22 councils, with officials there unable to say where the money went. R6.45 billion was paid by ratepayers in these municipalities, meaning most of the money is unaccounted for, or untraceable at this point. [Daily Maverick]
- Up in the air: President Cyril Ramaphosa says the deal with a consortium to take ownership of 51% of SAA is not a done deal, and that the process was only at the stage of conducting due diligence. It’s only after this stage that the parties will decide on whether to proceed or not. The president said that the consortium will have to ‘show us the money’ for the deal to proceed. The consortium has expressed confidence in being able to raise the R3.5 billion needed to get the deal done. [TimesLive]
- Markets: The rand saw widespread losses on Tuesday which lifted USD/ZAR close to nearby resistance levels on the charts and left the outlook for the South African currency hinged on whether a supportive Reserve Bank monetary policy stance can keep a resurgent dollar at bay. The rand has ceded further ground to all major developed and emerging market counterparts early in the new week. On Wednesday the rand was trading at R14.27/$, R17.01/€ and R19.88/£. [PoundSterlingLive]