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 578 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 2,897,521. Deaths have reached 87,216 (+164), while recoveries have climbed to 2,762,812, leaving the country with a balance of 47,493 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 16,999,722 (+171,932).

  • Level 1: Health experts expect South Africa to move to lockdown level 1 by the end of the week. When South Africa was placed under lockdown level 2, president Cyril Ramaphosa said the government would review the situation in 2 weeks. However, he missed this deadline – 26 September – with Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma extending the date to 3 October. Analysts at PwC said the most likely start for level 1 would be the beginning of October, while medical experts at the University of KwaZulu Natal say that the country can start easing restrictions from an epidemiological point of view as soon as possible. [702]

  • Booster: The South African government says it is exploring introducing Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 booster shots. The company’s data showed that its vaccine is more effective when supplied in two doses. In global studies, an additional shot administered 56 days after the first provided 75% protection against symptomatic coronavirus. The Western Cape government is keen on adopting the booster in the province but says it is waiting on the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority to rule the process. This is still under consideration, it said. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is currently the most widely used in South Africa. [EWN]

  • Crash: New data shows how South Africa’s tourism industry was completely hammered by lockdown in 2020, losing approximately R164 billion in tourism spending and around 1 million jobs tied to the industry. According to the Bureau for Economic Research, the jobs lost are not only in the tourism industry but many other sectors that are tied to it, all across the value chain. Currently, any recovery in the sector is being driven by local and regional travel and hospitality, with much of the international market still unable to travel to South Africa. Occupancy is down, and the industry’s contribution to GDP is a third of what it was pre-lockdown. [Moneyweb, 1,2]

  • Promises, promises: The ANC has launched its election manifesto, filled with familiar promises and plans to change – including tackling South Africa’s job crisis head-on and clamp down on corruption and reform the party. However, as the party gloats about connecting 2 million households to water since 2019, the failings of local and national government become evident as hours before the launch, water was cut off for residents across Gauteng. Analysts say that empty words and lofty promises are unlikely to assuage the anger felt by communities who have had to suffer through a lack of basic service delivery and record high unemployment over the years – and president Cyril Ramaphosa’s charm may be wearing thin. [TimesLive, Daily Maverick]

  • Markets: The South African rand ended stronger after a volatile day of trading on Monday, helped by receding fears of widespread market contagion from indebted Chinese developer Evergrande. South Africa performed strongly in the first half of the year, with sectors like mining expanding strongly on the back of bumper commodities prices. Still, in July, it suffered a sharp knock when some of the worst rioting in the post-apartheid era broke out. Last week, the central bank said an economic bounce-back was mostly done as it held its main lending rate. On Tuesday, the rand was trading at R14.96/$, R17.51/€ and R20.52/£.

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5 important things happening in South Africa today