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 2,409 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 3,528,463. Deaths have reached 92,530 (+77), while recoveries have climbed to 3,291,578, leaving the country with a balance of 144,355 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 28,417,574.

  • School starts: Teacher unions will be meeting with medical experts this week to discuss schooling in 2022, and the troubles faced by the current system of rotational learning. Unions are concerned about the teaching losses from the system, where learners attend classes on alternate days to avoid crowded classrooms. Former model-C schools were able to drop the system and return to normal teaching last year, but no-fee schools have struggled with space and are still on the system. Schools in Gauteng, the Free State, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the North West start up tomorrow, while coastal regions begin on 19 January. [TimesLive]

  • Matric results: Matriculants are anxious about the release of the results of the 2021 matric exams, which has been delayed to 21 January 2022. The education department says it is on track to deliver the results by this date, saying that the delays were due to the 2021 elections and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Universities are aware of the delays and have structured their programmes and registration processes accordingly. Matrics can expect communications from the universities they applied to within days of the matric results being published, which will explain timelines and processes for registering. [Daily Maverick]

  • Power losses: Fixed fees and electricity price hikes are making life for Joburg residents hell when it comes to affordable power, with a price comparison showing that post-paid residential customers in the city are getting a raw deal. The two fixed charges in the city – a network charge and capacity charge – now total R825 a month, meaning residents get barely any power with a monthly spend of R1,000 compared to other major metros. Prepaid customers in the city, however, still receive the best deal – for now. The city has made several attempts at introducing fixed monthly fees for prepaid users as well, but this has not yet been implemented. [Moneyweb]

  • Parliament: After the State of the Nation Address next month, parliament will continue sitting in the parliamentary precinct, moving to the Good Hope Chamber which was spared in the devastating fire that hit the building earlier this month. The SONA and post-SONA debates will take place in the Cape Town City Hall. There have been calls to use the damage caused by the fire as an opportunity to move parliament to Tshwane; however, this is not an option being considered at present. Officials are looking at repairing or rebuilding parliament, but this will take time. A suspect is being held and charged in relation to the fire. Critics say he is being used as a scapegoat for political failure. [EWN]

  • Markets: The South African rand slightly weakened on Monday, as the greenback strengthened on the prospect that US inflation data would bolster the case for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates sooner than expected. US inflation figures are due on Wednesday, with headline consumer inflation seen climbing to a red-hot 7% year-on-year. South Africa’s economic data calendar is fairly light this week, so the rand will probably mainly track global markets. On Tuesday, the rand is trading at R15.68/$, R17.78/€ and R21.30/£. [Reuters]

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5 important things happening in South Africa today