Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: In South Africa, there have been 2,640 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 2,860,835. Deaths have reached 85,002 (+125), while recoveries have climbed to 2,671,322, leaving the country with a balance of 104,511 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 14,922,954 (+232,368).
- Vaccines: The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) and the Department of Health say that there have been no deaths in South Africa linked to the Covid-19 vaccine and its side effects. Deaths recorded around the vaccine were found to be a result of Covid-19 contracted before receiving the shot or shortly after receiving the shot – but none directly linked to the shot itself. Only 0.02% of the vaccinated population reported adverse effects from the vaccines, and only 86 deaths were reported where the deceased was vaccinated. In none of the investigations was the vaccine found to be the cause. Almost 15 million vaccines have been administered. [Moneyweb]
- Election: The ANC says that the elections should be run fair and square and that parties shouldn’t benefit just because they could ‘muscle out’ their opponents. The party responded to the DA’s court bid to block the IEC from re-opening candidate registrations for the upcoming elections. The ANC said that the DA’s request is at odds with the Constitutional Court’s ruling – which gave the IEC room to change the pre-election timetable – and is also at odds with the spirit of giving voters the freedom to choose their elected officials. The ANC also said that the DA’s court bid is prejudiced, as the party’s leadership had already publicly accused the Constitutional Court of foul play, alleging it leaked information to the ANC. [TimesLive]
- Riots: Businesses and insurers are appealing to the government to work faster in paying out for damages sustained during the July riots, saying that many are desperate for cash to get their operations back up and running. While the state, through its insurer Sasria, has enough funding to pay out, with so many claims, it does not have the capacity to address them quickly. The insurance industry has suggested that 30% of each claim be paid out immediately, so big businesses at least have some capital to restart while Sasria processes everything. This would mitigate long-term losses and help retain jobs. 
- Bugged: South African authorities are applying for authorisation to implement hundreds of wiretaps, bugs and communication interceptions. The retired Constitutional Court judge who authorises these requests has warned that there are many flaws in the system – the least of which is that we don’t even know if the authorities are being honest about why they want the authorisation. Many of these interceptions are later found to be unlawful. The SSA filed 66 requests; the FIC applied for 4. The SAPS, meanwhile, applied for 622 wiretaps. Over 200 were denied.[Daily Maverick]
- Markets: The tapering of quantitative easing by the US Fed remains the key focus for markets this week. Investors are keeping an eye on economic data, specifically US employment data. The dollar was trading stronger on Monday, but the rand remained in a strong position. The local unit benefitted from an easing of local coronavirus lockdown restrictions. On Tuesday, the rand was at R14.16/$, R16.74/€ and R19.61/£.