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 331 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 2,920,109. Deaths have reached 88,987 (+53), while recoveries have climbed to 2,812,320, leaving the country with a balance of 18,802 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 21,721,854 (+207,821).

  • Revolution: While the 2021 municipal elections are expected to see low voter turnout, they are likely to be the most hotly contested in decades in many regions and municipalities. This is due to the large number of independent candidates contesting the elections, with community-led groups springing up across the country to try and regain control of their local affairs and wrest power from incumbent politicians who have let them down. Hundreds of municipalities in South Africa have either collapsed or are on the brink of collapse after decades of mismanagement and corruption. Communities are now fed up and want the opportunity to take over. [Moneyweb]

  • Political killing capital: The City of eThekwini has spent about R70 million protecting councillors between July and September this year – but it has done little to prevent a wave of political killings in the municipality. eThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said that the SAPS is not adequately equipped to deal with the numerous killings in the area, which specifically target politicians. He noted three SAPS officers are tasked with conducting security assessments for councillors, which is insufficient to keep up with the hits. Local leaders claim that 23 people have been murdered in the region since mid-September. [Daily Maverick]

  • Running dry: After suffering deep financial losses due to the government’s Covid-19 lockdown and alcohol bans, liquor producers and retailers now have to contend with supply shortages and shipment delays ahead of the festive season. Drinks producer Distell says that the industry has been hit with nearly double the demand for alcohol, but production has been slowed by glass shortages and global supply chain issues. Those looking for their favourite drink at the moment may find it in short supply or out of stock – however, producers say they are working to meet demand in the coming months. Supplies have been directly affected by the alcohol ban, which forced factories to shut down. [News24]

  • Matrics: Some 900,000 matrics are getting ready to write their final exams today, with the Department of Education confident that the class of 2021 will succeed despite the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown. The department is using lessons learned in the 2020 exams to ensure things run smoothly, including isolation plans and strategies for any students who are found to be Covid-19 positive during exam time. The department has also gone to the extreme to counter any possibility of cheating, with strict controls over messaging and devices during exam time. Learners report being anxious but optimistic. [EWN]

  • Markets: The South African rand weakened on Tuesday as precious metals prices fell and power utility Eskom extended scheduled power cuts because of a shortage of generation capacity. With the local economy remaining weak and facing power cuts, the rand had rallied on Monday mainly on the back of global factors, including higher commodity prices which benefit resource-rich South Africa. Eskom regularly enforces outages over faults at its coal-fired power stations that hold back economic growth. Load shedding will be in effect until Saturday. On Wednesday, the rand was trading at R14.86/$, R17.22/€ and R20.45/£. [Reuters]

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5 important things happening in South Africa today