Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: In South Africa, there have been 16,240 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 2,327,472. Deaths have reached 68,192 (+516), while recoveries have climbed to 2,098,818, leaving the country with a balance of 160,462 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 5,831,389 (+273,011).
- Not over: South Africa is being warned that the unrest that played out last week may not yet be over. Analysts say that the instigators responsible – tied to ANC officials and members of the so-called ‘radical economic transformation’ faction of the party – no longer have a political platform to spread their views, and so the battle must be fought outside the party. The warning comes as police stations have been placed on high alert, with intelligence pointing to possible attacks on armouries and security equipment. Police have been given a memo to tighten security on their weapon lockups and to watch out for potential attacks. [BusinessLive, News24 – paywall]
- Arrested: Almost 2,000 people have been arrested in relation to the violent riots and looting that took place in South Africa last week, and some may face charges of domestic terrorism. According to the National Prosecuting Authority, those arrested are being split into three broad categories – ordinary perpetrators (lvl3), organised crime elements (lvl2) and planners and inciters (lvl1). The highest lvl1 perpetrators face the toughest charges, but the NPA said it will also be looking at alternatives, such as mediation and fines where applicable. The NPA said it is pushing back against political influences from all sides and maintains its independence in pursuing investigations and charges in the matter. [Daily Maverick]
- Under construction: The recent unrest in South Africa will prove to be bittersweet for the construction industry, which will ‘win’ at the end of the day, boosted by various reconstruction efforts to clean up and rebuild the damage caused by arsonists and looters. However, the sector has also suffered as a result of the attacks, with many constructions sites shutting down or ongoing projects being damaged – which means major delays to projects, and possible litigation as these developments will no longer be completed on time. In the longer term, South Africa’s reputation has taken a bit of a hit, which may impact future investment into development projects. [Moneyweb]
- Vaccines: The latest data on South Africa’s vaccine rollout shows that more people with medical aid are getting the vaccine than those without – with 18% of medical aid members already receiving the shot, versus 6% of those without. 9 million people have medical aid cover in South Africa, so that’s around 1.7 million who have received the vaccine, compared to 3 million people off-scheme. The government wants 35 million people vaccinated by Christmas, and 41 million by February next year. Medical experts say some side effects to the vaccine should be expected – such as a sore arm and headaches – but more severe symptoms like palpitations and shortness of breath need medical attention. [ENCA 1,2]
- Markets: South Africa’s rand led losses across emerging market currencies on Wednesday as commodity prices retreated, while stocks extended declines into a fourth session as the virus-driven risk-off sentiment persisted. The rand fell 0.8% and was the worst performer in EMEA, as a drop in iron ore, base metal and gold prices added to pressure from broader weakness in sentiment. Easing June inflation data also pointed to the South African central bank standing pat on interest rates at its Thursday meeting. On Thursday, the rand was at R14.56/$, R17.18/€ and R19.99/£. [Reuters]