5 important things happening in South Africa today

Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:

Coronavirus: In South Africa, there have been 7,740 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 2,764,931. Deaths have reached 81,595 (+134), while recoveries have climbed to 2,526,199, leaving the country with a balance of 157,137 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 12,021,608 (+27,993).

  • Unaffordable: Electricity prices are eating up an increasing portion of South Africans’ take-home pay, economists say, with prices shooting up 224% over the last decade, compared to the 91% increase in salaries over the same period. In Joburg, costs have gone up from an average of 14% of household expenses in 2009/10 to 24%, with inner-city districts spending close to 50%. The formal sector pays 13% of the average take-home pay in electricity costs, while pensioners spend up to 28% of their disposable income on power. [Moneyweb]

  • Riots: The Hawks are making progress on bringing those accused of inciting violence and looting in the July riots to book. The group this weekend confirmed that a 35-year-old man and a 36-year-old woman had been arrested in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal on charges of incitement to commit public violence. The suspects allegedly used social media and digital communication platforms to orchestrate the unrest. The Hawks worked with a non-profit organisation to identify social media accounts that were inciting the violence in mid-July. [Daily Maverick]

  • Social distancing: Basic education minister Angie Motshekga wants more children back at school and is still considering adjusting social distancing requirements to achieve this. The department wants to reduce the social distancing rule to just half a metre from the one-metre requirement currently in place. This was part of the plan before the third wave of Covid-19 hit the country and may soon be back on the table – specifically for grades R to 3. However, for now, infection numbers are still too high for this policy to be adopted. [TimesLive]

  • Dr Dan: The Public Investment Corporation is suing Iqbal Survé’s Sekunjalo Independent Media for R700 million related to the 2013 takeover of Independent Newspapers. A court case has laid bare allegations the former chief executive of the PIC, Dan Matjila, secretly signed away state pensioners’ claims worth hundreds of millions of rands to help his alleged friend, media mogul Iqbal Survé. The PIC is now trying to repudiate Matjila’s agreements with Survé as unlawful. [amaBhungane]

  • Markets: The South African rand traded around the R15.00 to the dollar mark before strengthening to under R14.80 at the end of the week – remaining at the lowest since March, even as the dollar receded throughout the week. General dollar strength remains persistent due to fears of a slowdown in global growth on the back of the fast-spreading delta variant and the prospect of an early tapering of the US Federal Reserve stimulus. R14.73/$, R17.38/€ and R20.27/£.

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5 important things happening in South Africa today