Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: In South Africa, 28,549 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours, with 768 new cases reported, representing a 2.7% positivity rate. A further 103 Covid-19 related deaths have been reported, taking total fatalities to 87,922 to date. The total number of vaccines administered is 18,285,920. (197,698 in the last 24 hours).
- Housing crisis: Human Settlements minister Mmamoloko Kubayi says the country’s subsidised housing backlog could be significantly higher than the estimated 2.5 million houses, as the data used by the government is not reliable. Kubayi said that the scheme is flawed to a degree where they could not tell who had exited the programme or not been allocated homes. [EWN]
- R11.5 billion electricity bill: The City of Johannesburg’s plan to take over distribution from Eskom faces several costly hurdles, including R7.5 billion in outstanding consumer debt and R4 billion to take ownership of distribution infrastructure. Electricity supply has turned into a critical election issue in Gauteng, where communities have borne the brunt of ‘load reduction’ by Eskom. [BusinessDay]
- One thousand stores: The Foschini Group plans to open 200 new stores in the current financial year and an additional 1,000 stores over the next three years as part of a plan to dominate South Africa’s retail sector. This includes the rollout of new Jet Home stores and high-end luxury brands such as Fabiani in smaller towns across the country. [Fin24]
- Shot in the foot: A new analysis shows that South Africa is one of only 13 economies producing less now than a decade ago. An honest discussion now needs to take place about South Africa’s economic policy and the disaster in the manufacturing industry, says economist Mike Schüssler. After 16 years of the Industrial Policy Action Plan and as many versions, South African manufacturing has gone nowhere. In the second quarter, the result was that fewer people were employed in the formal manufacturing industry than in 1969, he said. [Moneyweb]
- Markets: South Africa’s rand gained on Tuesday afternoon as the central bank highlighted inflation risks in a biannual review of its monetary policy stance. Asked about those risks, Governor Lesetja Kganyago said the bank stood ready to act if it saw them materialising. On Wednesday, the rand was trading at R15.09/$, R17.48/€ and R20.53/£.