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 687 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 2,929,862. Deaths have reached 89,574 (+2), while recoveries have climbed to 2,821,141, leaving the country with a balance of 19,147 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 24,646,053 (+13,766).

  • More money: Embattled power utility Eskom wants more money, and it wants to hike prices by 20%. Energy regulator Nersa has been working to change the way Eskom hikes its prices, proposing four different ways to do so, including public consultations. Under Nersa’s proposals, fees could still be hiked by as much as 15%. However, Eskom has rejected Nersa’s ideas, saying the current system has not lapsed. As the utility and regulator battle it out, the price determination for 2022 remains uncertain. The current methodology lapses at the end of March 2022; however, new tariffs must be tabled by 15 March to take effect from 1 July 2022. [Moneyweb]

  • Vaccine certificates: The health department has clarified that South Africa’s vaccine certificates are for local use only, and the government is still working on getting them recognised internationally. The vaccine certificate would be rolling out in three phases, with the first being a trial run, the second being a QR code system, and the third being international recognition. However, the department stressed that the third phase would require much higher security. Health Minister Joe Phaahla also said that the department advises against harder lockdown restrictions ahead of an expected fourth wave. [ENCA 1, 2]

  • Coalitions: A clearer picture of who will be in charge in South Africa’s major metros is starting to form – however, agreements and coalitions remain shakey. The ANC is looking like the prime party in regions like Ekhuruleni and eThekwini, while the DA looks set to take control of Tshwane. Uncertainty still lingers around Johannesburg. While the bigger parties have entered into coalition agreements with smaller parties, things remain volatile, particularly where demands from smaller parties are not being met. For example, the DA not supporting Action SA’s bid for mayorship in Joburg, could see the coalition in Tshwane collapse. [BusinessLive, TimesLive]

  • State capture: The National Prosecuting Authority’s legal battle with Regiments Capital is a preview of how the state capture saga is likely to play out in the courts. The NPA obtained an interim order to preserve Regiments’ assets as the alleged proceeds of crime in November 2019. This order was discharged in 2020 – which the NPA is now trying to appeal. However, 18 defendants and respondents in the case are now trying to punch holes in the NPA’s arguments and process, all while Regiments has been liquidated – which has also been set aside and is being appealed – adding to an incredibly complicated web of processes. [Daily Maverick]

  • Markets: The South African rand weakened by as much as 1.7% to R15.77 to the dollar, the lowest since November last year, despite an increase in short term interest rates by the South African Reserve Bank on Thursday. While the Bank delivered on market expectations, its policy makers’ comments were perceived to be dovish, as they stated that further tightening would be gradual. On Monday, the rand starts the week at R15.73/$, R17.74/€ and R21.15/£. [Citadel Global]

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5 important things happening in South Africa today