Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: In South Africa, there have been 1,678 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 2,902,672. Deaths have reached 87,626 (+101), while recoveries have climbed to 2,773,344, leaving the country with a balance of 41,702 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 17,505,358 (+156,258).
- Certified: Unions remain sceptical about South Africa’s incoming vaccine certificates, with questions around how the system and processes will be protected from corruption and abuse. Worker federation Cosatu raised concerns around accessibility to the certificates for people in rural areas and warned that if fraud and corruption can seep into the process – with people able to buy a certificate from corrupt officials – it risks putting the integrity of the entire vaccination programme at risk. The union also raised red flags around the massive increase in public gathering limits, saying that gatherings in such large numbers are likely to accelerate the fourth wave. [TimesLive]
- Investment: Finance minister Enoch Godongwana says that he is aware that the government has to make difficult decisions to enable economic growth, and he is prepared to make them. He said the government has to remove barriers for businesses to operate and grow in the country and needs to draw investment urgently. Godongwana noted a false perception that there is an ‘investment strike’ in the country – that investors are withholding funding. This is not the case, he said. People want to invest, but the ANC and the government have not created a conducive environment for this to happen. [News24]
- Tolling issues: Continued uncertainty around E-tolls in Gauteng has reportedly caused road agency Sanral to lose out on at least two big funding opportunities, totalling R14 billion. Sanral said it lost the opportunity to obtain R7 billion each from the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (Miga) and expressed concern about the uncertainty over the future funding policy of Sanral. The agency said it has had to restrict its Capex programme, as widespread anti-tolling sentiment has hit its finances. It said it needs certainty over funding – however, the government made it clear that no plan will be coming any time soon. [Moneyweb]
- Manifesto roundup: All major parties have published their election manifestos, outlining their promises and commitments should they be elected – or re-elected – into power. The ANC has hinged its campaign on promising to reform and do better, saying that now, after 27 years in power, it knows what needs to be done. The DA’s manifesto focuses on its successes in the areas it governs, promising to bring those successes to other regions. The EFF has pinned its election hopes on the promise of jobs and ‘returning the land’. Other notable parties include the IFP, GOOD, and newcomer ActionSA, which says it wants to fix what other parties – mainly the ANC – have broken. [Daily Maverick]
- Markets: The South African rand gained strongly on Thursday as the country’s trade surplus widened more than expected last month, credit extension picked up, and the dollar fell on global markets. Data from the revenue service showed the trade surplus widened to R42.4 billion in August, versus economists’ predictions for a R39 billion surplus. Bumper commodities prices, especially for precious metals, a key South African export, have bolstered the country’s terms of trade this year and supported the rand. On Friday, the rand was trading at R15.13/$, R17.51/€ and R20.35/£. [Reuters]