5 important things happening in South Africa today

 ·31 Jan 2022

Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:

Coronavirus: In South Africa, there have been 3,342 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 3,603,856. Deaths have reached 95,022 (+117), while recoveries have climbed to 3,443,535, leaving the country with a balance of 65,299 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 29,812,348.

  • Basic income grant: A new report from president Cyril Ramaphosa’s advisory council has been leaked, showing strong support for a basic income grant in the country. This follows a report last week, with the opposite message. The earlier report warned that a basic income grant could jeopardise South Africa’s financials and lead to instability. The latest report presents a more favourable view, saying that the depth of poverty in the country is so deep that it is unlikely that it would be able to ‘grow’ its way out of it – so a grant would go a long way in tackling this problem. The leaked report said it would also boost economic activity by enabling more participation. [News24]

  • Water and sanitisation: Joburg residents pay less for water use, according to a new report by Moneyweb, which looked at how much residents of major metros fork over for water and sanitation. Joburg prices ramp up significantly in higher-use measures but remain in line with the other metros. When paying for sanitation, eThekwini residents come off with the lowest prices, but Tshwane residents appear to have the best deal when looking at water and sanitation combined. [Moneyweb]

  • Retrenchments: The ANC has been urged to start retrenching workers as the political party’s finances continue to deteriorate. The party’s NEC reportedly debated its ‘bloated’ staff contingent, particularly ‘ghost workers’ that were placing a significant burden on the payroll. The party has repeatedly failed to pay its workers on time – if at all – and has faced go-slows and strike action as a result. Party insiders have argued that many workers have done nothing since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and are sitting at home drawing a salary. The NEC was asked to institute section 189 proceedings and restructure the organisation to cut dead weight. [TimesLive]

  • Zuma: Jacob Zuma is in a final push to stay corruption charges against him by appealing an October 2021 ruling that dismissed his attempts at getting the lead prosecutor of his corruption case removed. Zuma has pulled out every legal argument his team can muster to delay the trial, including special pleas to have all charges dropped and to get the prosecution team kicked off the case. The former president has even gone as far as to lay criminal charges against the lead prosecutor to aid his case. Zuma faces several charges of corruption and racketeering related to an early 2000s arms deal. [Daily Maverick]

  • Markets: The South African rand recovered slightly Friday as the dollar dipped but was on course for weekly losses of 2% after the country’s central bank signalled a gradual pace of policy tightening and expectations grew for aggressive rate hikes in the U.S. On Thursday, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) raised its main lending rate in a “measured” move it said should tame inflation risks. The rand fell around 1% after the SARB’s 25-basis-point repo rate increase in line with economists’ expectations. On Monday, the rand was trading at R15.58/$, R17.40/€ and R20.91/£. [Reuters]
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