Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: In South Africa, there have been 13,251 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 2,722,202 Deaths have reached 80,469 (+516), while recoveries have climbed to 2,474,245, leaving the country with a balance of 167,488 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 11,363,810 (+287,704).
- Spectrum: According to National Treasury officials, following months of announced reforms in major industries, the long-awaited move around frequency spectrum is next in line. The release of the spectrum will spur investment and development in South Africa’s telecommunications space and prime the sector for major growth. However, Icasa is still working on settlements and dealing with legal disputes over the proposed auction of spectrum. Treasury says that it anticipates that Icasa will cross these hurdles soon. [News24 – paywall]
- Flying: The ‘new’ SAA is expected to take to the skies in September, the group announced. It will be running a Johannesburg-Cape Town route and five other African regional destinations as of September 23, ahead of the Heritage Day long weekend. The airline has been grounded since March 2020, during which time it has gone through a restructuring process, which included bringing on board a private partner. The airline came out of business rescue in April 2021. Tickets for flights open up from today. [Moneyweb]
- Wage hikes: The fight between public servants and the government over salary hikes has reached the doorstep of the Constitutional Court – the result of which will have a wide-reaching impact on collective bargaining and wages for both the public and private sectors, legal experts say. Public service unions are challenging the decision by the government to renege on the final year of negotiated wage increases due to the conditions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns. Workers were supposed to get an 8% increase but were met with a wage freeze. [Daily Maverick]
- Shutdown: The ANC’s offices will shut down today as staff go on strike over unpaid salaries. The party told staff this week that it would not pay salaries for July and August. The ANC’s money problems have been well documented over the years, with workers going on a go-slow in recent months in protest. The party has also failed to pay provident and pension funds for more than two years. Despite this, the party still asked employees to work overtime to get its election affairs in order before the deadline. [TimesLive]
- Markets: The rand has clawed back some of its losses, pulling back below R15.00 to the dollar on the back of improved sentiment in global markets. The approval by the US FDA of the Pfizer vaccine has seen Delta Variant fears to ease. This is seeing risk appetite make a return to the market following the selloff of risk assets last week. This is dwarfing negative sentiment locally because of the record high unemployment numbers released this week. Focus is on the Fed and expected tapering in the coming months. On Thursday, the rand is at R14.96/$, R17.61/€ and R20.58/£.