Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: In South Africa, there have been 17,489 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 2,236,805. Deaths have reached 65,595 (+453), while recoveries have climbed to 1,970,516, leaving the country with a balance of 200,694 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 4,688,779 (+153,557).
- Insurrection: The government is investigating 12 people who are said to be behind an orchestrated insurrection against the state, including Jacob Zuma’s ‘spy master’ Thulani Dlomo. According to insiders into the investigation, the campaign was allegedly orchestrated via social media and communication platforms, specifically targetting places of economic activity, with the aim of physically destroying them and shutting down the country. Arson was a key factor in this. Messages seen indicated that targets included banks, shopping centres, and ‘white monopoly capital’. However, once the ‘protests’ turned into riots, things swiftly turned to chaos, with no control over the situation. [Daily Maverick]
- Panic: Delivery services and grocery stores in Gauteng have been hit with a wave of panic buying, with stock issues exacerbated by supply chain issues and logistics hang-ups due to the riots and looting, as well as staffing problems as employees are also affected. While retailers say they are focused on keeping stores open, they warn that it will take time for the wave of panic buying to pass, and for the supply chain issued to be resolved. In KwaZulu Natal, there are no delivery services at all, and most stores are shut after being looted or destroyed. As warehouses were looted and destroyed in KZN, supply chain issues are likely to persist for weeks. [Moneyweb, 702]
- Medicine shortage: Another result of the rampant looting and rioting is that KwaZulu Natal now faces a critical medicine shortage, after pharmacies and healthcare centres fell victim to the wave of ciminality that has swept through the province. The Independent Community Pharmacists Association said that efforts were being made to bring in medicines from other provinces, but this was proving difficult as the trucks bringing them risk being looted themselves, so security escorts are needed. Looters have stolen fridges full of insulin, ARVs for HIV-positive people, cancer drugs, tuberculosis medication and more. [TimesLive]
- Damages: The South African Special Risk Insurance Association (Sasria) is expecting the largest claims total in democratic South Africa, with damages from the riots and looting now sitting at over an estimated R7 billion. While the group is confident it will be able to pay out these claims, this depends on whether the riots are brought under control fairly quickly. Its balance sheet is sitting at R10 billion, with a reinsurance programme. It said that the riots appear to be slowing down, so for now, it feels confident it can pay. [News24 – paywall]
- Markets: South Africa’s worst unrest in years threatens to derail one of this year’s star emerging market performers and highlights the chronic joblessness and poverty papered over by a short-term export boom. The rand tumbled as much as 3.4% this month and hit a more than three-month low, stocks of property firms and retailers dropped as much as 7% in a single day and sovereign bonds sold off after more than 70 people were killed in unrest and looting. On Thursday the rand was trading at R14.47/$, R17.13/€ and R20.04/£. [Reuters]