Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: In South Africa, there have been 9,718 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 2,377,823. Deaths have reached 69,775 (+287), while recoveries have climbed to 2,158,184, leaving the country with a balance of 149,865 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 6,384,382 (+27,053).
- Incitement: An investigation into the social media campaign to incite violence and fuel the attempted insurrection this month has uncovered 12 Twitter accounts that were central to driving the unrest. Activity on these accounts point to a clear alignment with the so-called ‘radical economic transformation’ faction of the ANC, and exhibited deep social media know-how in running campaigns to push the message of freeing Jacob Zuma, calling for a shutdown in South Africa, and spreading misinformation. Several of the accounts were previously identified as part of similar campaigns when Ace Magashule was the ANC leader under fire. [Daily Maverick]
- Caution: Medical experts are warning South Africans against complacency, following the move by President Cyril Ramaphosa to ease lockdown restrictions. While the country is largely past the peak of the third wave, things are still far from calm, with close to 150,000 active cases, and numbers still rising in certain parts of the country. Professor Salim Abdool Karim says that lockdown is a fine balancing act, and the responsibility ultimately rests with citizens doing their part to keep adhering to regulations in force, and the protocols in place to avoid the spread of the virus. [ENCA]
- Looter view: Several people involved in the recent unrest explained why they took part or didn’t take part in widespread looting, confirming the prevailing view of analysts assessing the incidents. They noted that there were two distinct groups of looters – criminals, who broke into the stores, and general looters who were desperate and took up the opportunity to get something for themselves. The first group were clearly identified by the other, who said they were afraid of them and didn’t bother them at risk of getting shot or beaten. The government’s failure to deliver services and make good on promises to create jobs were also fuel to the fire that drove the unrest. [TimesLive]
- Crypto scheme: One of the founders of the Africrypt crypto investment scheme has come out of hiding and surfaced in Tanzania to respond to allegations that he stole investors’ money and fled the country. It was reported last month that the scheme had suffered a hack, and criminals made off with an alleged R56 billion worth of crypto assets. However, the co-founder says that no such amount was stolen – only around R89 million was taken by Czech hackers. He is opposing the liquidation of the scheme saying that it is still solvent, and denies owing one claimant of the highest amount anything, as their contract was with a different company. The liquidation case is to be heard in September. [Moneyweb]
- Markets: South Africa’s rand lagged its emerging market peers with a 0.4% fall on Friday. Concerns over renewed violence in the country, as well as dovish comments from the central bank put the rand on course for a 2.3% weekly loss, making it the worst EM performer. South African stocks jumped 0.8% on Friday, however, marking a strong comeback from losses earlier in the week. On Monday, the rand is trading at R14.85/$, R14.79/€ and R20.43/£. [Reuters]