Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: In South Africa, there have been 201 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 2,912,346. Deaths have reached 88,346 (+29), while recoveries have climbed to 2,791,794, leaving the country with a balance of 32,206 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 19,242,116 (+200,581).
- A first: Senior Researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr Ridhwaan Suliman, says that for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic started, the whole country appears to be in the clear and out of the third wave of infections. He said that, previously, at least one province was experiencing a wave of infection even as others were coming out of it. However, the numbers show that the whole country is now “in a good place” and that some level of herd immunity may be at play. However, he warned that vaccination rates are still too low to have an impact, and with added movement – especially during the holiday period – a fourth wave is still on the cards. [TimesLive]
- Strike: The National Union of Mineworkers SA (Numsa) is continuing its damaging strike. The steel and engineering industry is reportedly trying to negotiate an end to at least part of it. According to reports citing insiders close to negotiations, the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) is increasing its wage offer from 4.4% to 6% in a bid to sweeten the deal for striking workers. Numsa has demanded 8% for 2021 and CPI+2% in the two years that follow. The strike has already robbed workers of their salaries over the last five days and millions in production for the economy. [Daily Maverick]
- Disaster: Less than three weeks after taking to the skies again, South African Airways is already facing a backlash from staff, cancelled flights, and support problems. In the latest blow to the airline, SAA workers represented by the South African Cabin Crew Association and Numsa will picket outside the Airways Park office in Kempton Park on Tuesday. These workers are unhappy about unfair working conditions, including a 35% pay cut and the airline’s bloated management structure. Making matters worse, there is no deal yet between the SAA’s new equity partner, Takatso Consortium, and the Department of Public Enterprises. [MyBroadband]
- Banned: National Treasury has prohibited the use of imported cement in all government-funded projects, giving a significant boost to local producers. Treasury issued a circular this week detailing the new limits, which call for 100% local procurement. All state entities, including national, provincial, and local authorities and state-owned enterprises, must, from November 4 this year, stipulate in tender invitations that only South African produced cement, produced with locally sourced raw materials, be allowed. The move forms part of the government’s plan to boost jobs and local economic activity through localisation. [Moneyweb]
- Markets: The expectation for the US Fed to start tapering in November remains intact, even as non-farm payrolls disappointed on Friday. The rand traded on the back foot overnight, moving back above R15 to the dollar as global markets remain under pressure over health uncertainty, as well as rising oil prices. The local unit continues to experience volatility. On Tuesday, the rand was trading at R15.07/$, R17.42/€ and R20.50/£.