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 344 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 2,922,735. Deaths have reached 89,220 (+23), while recoveries have climbed to2,815,166, leaving the country with a balance of 18,349 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 22,799,682 (+172,500).

  • Elections: Vote counting is nearing completion, with the IEC to make the official declaration later on Thursday. With over 97% of votes counted, a clearer picture of the election has emerged, showing steep losses for the ANC and smaller losses for the DA in many of their strongholds. No party managed to secure an outright majority in Gauteng’s major metros – Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni. This trend carried through to eThekwini and Nelson Mandela Bay. Only three of SA’s major metros have a majority party: the DA in Cape Town and the ANC in Buffalo City (East London), and narrowly in Manguang. [News24]

  • Coalitions: With a record number of hung municipalities after the local government elections, attention is now on political parties forming coalitions. The ANC has said it is willing to work with any political party to form a stable government in the 52 municipalities with no outright majority. However, it has also made it clear that it is “not desperate” and will gladly be in opposition benches. The DA is looking for stable coalitions but has generally ruled out the EFF from talks after the latter collapsed coalitions following the 2016 elections. The EFF has taken a more humble approach and called for egos to be set aside in the coming negotiations. Newcomer Action SA, however, says it won’t work with the ANC. [EWN 1,2, 702]

  • Corruption: Eskom CEO André de Ruyter has admitted that corruption is still rife at the power utility and that patronage networks still exist, saying it is clear that the networks created during the state capture years are still active. Commenting on why corruption is still happening under his watch, De Ruyter said one man could not clean up the company. De Ruyter said incompetence and neglect by Eskom staff is one of the primary reasons for the recent bout of load-shedding. It included an operator at the Kusile power station ignoring a flashing light on a control panel that indicated a low oil level, which resulted in a power generation unit tripping. [MyBroadband]

  • Boosters: South Africa’s Sisonke Covid vaccine programme will soon enter its second trial, offering booster shots to healthcare workers who received their jab in the first trial earlier this year. The booster trial is set to begin on 8 November. New research has shown that a single-dose booster bolsters the immune responses against Covid-19. The South African Medical Research Council said it is in the final stages of approvals from the regulators and ethics review committees, and vaccination will be open to all health workers, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, who received a first dose of the Janssen (J&J) vaccine as part of the Sisonke study. [TimesLive]

  • Markets: The South African rand on Wednesday fell further back towards an eight-month low hit in the previous session, as the country’s ruling party headed for its poorest ever electoral showing in a municipal poll held on Monday. Such a result could weaken the hand of President Cyril Ramaphosa and dent his efforts to drive reforms. The rand was, as always, also being moved by global factors. Internationally, markets were watching a meeting of the US Federal Reserve. On Thursday, the rand was trading at R15.29/$, R17.72/€ and R20.88/£. [Reuters]

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5 important things happening in South Africa today