Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: In South Africa, there have been 4,597 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 3,559,230. Deaths have reached 93,364 (+86), while recoveries have climbed to 3,371,004, leaving the country with a balance of 94,862 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 28,903,010.
- Matric results: The Department of Basic Education is facing legal challenges over its decision not to publish matric results publicly this year. Three organisations have approached the courts to reverse the decision, which will make it more difficult for matriculants to receive their results, while media houses will also lose out funding. The department said that matrics would not be able to get their results in the papers or online due to South Africa’s new Protection of Private Information Act. It has since offered a digital option -however, learners and their parents have reportedly faced an uphill battle trying to register. [EWN, TimesLive]
- Demerit points: Despite the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act being declared unconstitutional and invalid, civil action organisations say the driving demerit system could still be implmented. However, to achieve this, the services that such a system relies on need to be fully operational and working effeciently – such as the National Traffic Information System and the post office. To work, the traffic fine system would need to be able to communicate with a national points system – but to be in line with the consitution, provincial authorities need to be in control of their local processes. [Moneyweb]
- Power struggle: Business chambers and even provincial governments are heading the way of legal action against Eskom’s plans to hike electricity prices by 20.5% this year. Business chambers in Nelson Mandela Bay and Pietermaritzburg have filed papers against the Nersa methodology that Eskom uses to determine its price increases. A showdown looms as businesses plan to fight municipalities who have carte blanche over how much to charge over and above Eskom’s required increase – while the South African Local Government Association looks to remove choice from the equation, seeking an order giving municipalities exclusive right to distribute electricity. [Daily Maverick]
- Sisulu: Tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu has tripled down in her tirade against South Africa’s constitution, penning a third column/open letter criticising the highest rule of law in the country. Sisulu’s critics have widely condemned her position, with many high-profile politicians and analysts pointing out that her timing is suspect, given that 2022 is an ANC election year. The ANC is expected to meet this week, where Sisulu’s columns are likely to be discussed. [News24, ENCA]
- Markets: The South African rand strengthened on Friday, but lost some of its early gains as the dollar regained some ground. The South African rand has flourished against the US dollar since late November 2021 but this may be coming to an end with the Federal Reserve adding to its already hawkish narrative, economists say. The rand rally may be ending as the weak South African economic and political backdrop takes its toll. On Monday, the rand was trading at R15.41/$, R17.59/€ and R21.07/£. [Reuters]