Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: In South Africa, there have been 8,988 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 2,470,746. Deaths have reached 72,992 (+555), while recoveries have climbed to 2,250,708, leaving the country with a balance of 147,046 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 7,981,822 (+212,023).
- Reshuffle: Government insiders say an expected cabinet reshuffle from president Cyril Ramaphosa could hold a few surprises as key portfolios are anticipated to get new ministers. The main changes are expected to be in the security cluster, with state security, defence and the police ministry under scrutiny following the July riots – however, police minister Bheki Cele may avoid getting the axe. Insiders say Ramaphosa’s allies will be rewarded for their loyalty, while those who have been weakening his position are in the crosshairs; but the president will be strategic in his choices. [TimesLive]
- Elections: Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has proclaimed 27 October 2021 as the official date for the local or municipal elections, saying this will stand until the necessary court proclamations state otherwise. The IEC has already stated its intentions to postpone the elections – however, no process in the law allows this without going through the courts. The IEC wants to approach the Constitutional Court on an urgent basis to get this done, thus the proclamation of the election date is a formality that needs to be done to aid this. The IEC believes the elections won’t be free and fair if held in October, due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. [EWN]
- Licences: The grace period for expired driver’s licences in South Africa is swiftly drawing closer. Motorists have until 31 August 2021 to ensure their licences are renewed – however, reports from licence centres show that many are still struggling to wade through the department’s messy and slow online systems. Many are facing technical challenges just trying to get a booking on the eNatis system, which is just the first step in the process. Even those that secure a slot end up in long queues and suffering from other glitches. According to the DA, departments, particularly in Gauteng, are struggling with a huge backlog. [News24]
- Digital Vibes: Following the paper trail of the Department of Health’s R150 million Digital Vibes contract shows that R1 million was siphoned off to help establish a new hair salon and an up-market nail franchise owned by health minister Zweli Mkhize’s son and daughter-in-law. Following months of investigation, Daily Maverick’s Scorpio reports that at least R650,000 that flowed from the allegedly corrupt Digital Vibes contract went towards the start-up costs for a Tammy Taylor Nails outlet – and at least R446,000 had been diverted to the account of a new hair salon. [Daily Maverick]
- Markets: Investors are keeping an eye on the Delta variant, but some of the fears that were priced into the market appear to have dissipated. The rand continues to draw benefit from the weaker dollar as numerous risks remain on the horizon. The dollar slumped ahead of expected US jobs data coming this week. On Wednesday, the rand was trading at R14.29/$, R16,.96/€ and R19.90/£.