Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: In South Africa, there have been 520 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 2,918,366. Deaths have reached 88,835 (+81), while recoveries have climbed to 2,810,316, leaving the country with a balance of 19,215 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 21,011,187 (+216,996).
- Vaccines: Health Minister Joe Phaahla says that the health department has not set a target for child vaccinations, as vaccinating South Africa’s adult population against Covid-19 remains the priority. Vaccines for children aged 12-17 opened on Wednesday, with over 7,000 jabs delivered on the day. Sixty thousand children in the age group have registered to get the vaccine. While Phaalha reiterated that children do not need parental consent to get the vaccine, he implored parents to accompany their children. Over 30% of the population has been inoculated so far; however, this is still far from the targeted 70% by December. [EWN]
- Tender: The contractor behind several multi-million rand projects of questionable quality in the Eastern Cape has scored another R41 million contract from a broke municipality in the province. The group most recently built the controversial R15 million Enoch Mgijima ‘stadium’ in the province, which turned out to be little more than a dry sports field and a couple of grandstands. The same company has now been contracted to work on a water scheme project. The opposition DA has launched processes to probe other contracts handled by the company worth over R24 million – including a taxi rank that was unusable. The company and the municipality deny any wrongdoing. [News24]
- Queueing: Despite assurances from the government that it would deal with queueing and wait issues at Home Affairs offices, it remains a massive problem for many. Complaints about long wait times at Home Affairs offices across the country continue to pour in. On-site investigations by GroundUp found that people started queueing for services long before offices opened up, and many would not be helped due to processing delays involved with their IDs, passports and other documents. Home Affairs temporarily extended its office hours this week to 17h30, with minister Aaron Motsoaledi assuring that anyone who arrives before 17h30 will not be turned away. [GroundUp]
- ANC: Former ANC leaders have levelled some criticisms at the party ahead of the elections. Former deputy president Dr Mlambo-Ngcuka said that ANC’s list of failures in governance is growing, and leaders need to do better, and voters need to expect more. Former ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe said that corruption and lawlessness within the ANC set in with impunity; however, things have changed with the new administration. Meanwhile, former president Thabo Mbeki said that the party’s membership has been overrun by those seeking to fulfil their self-interest – but also that the party is too big to fail and that South Africa’s future still rests on its shoulders. [TimesLive 1, 2, 3]
- Markets: South Africa’s rand and local stocks retreated on Thursday, as risk appetite weakened across global markets. The rand had gained on Wednesday, as data showing consumer price inflation quickened slightly to 5.0% last month reinforced the view of some traders that the central bank will raise interest rates next month. Commodity-driven currencies are largely trading at their highest levels in months as higher commodity prices improved risk sentiment. The rand managed an easy breakthrough the R14.50/$. On Friday, the rand was trading at R14.66/$, R17.04/€ and R20.22/£.