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 1094 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 3,642,905. Deaths have reached 97,250 (+257), while recoveries have climbed to 3,508,249, leaving the country with a balance of 37,406 active cases and a recovery rate of 96,3%. A total of 30,559,431 vaccines have been administered.

  • No confidence: Opposition parties grilled president Cyril Ramaphosa in the post-SONA debate this week. The Democratic Alliance proposed a no-confidence vote against the president and his entire cabinet. The DA slammed Ramaphosa for failing to hold his executive accountable for rampant corruption and widespread economic decline. The EFF, meanwhile, said that the president’s reliance on the private sector and extra-governmental organizations to do things was already a vote of no confidence in the ministers and deputies he appointed. Several other smaller parties also indicated support for such a motion. [ENCA]

  • Labour clampdown: The Department of Labour has indicated that its clampdown on foreign-owned companies does not stop with Chinese tech giant Huawei. Last week, the company was hit with a court challenge for not complying with Employment Equity Act quotas. The department said that it would also be looking at other employers in the country. Under the current laws, 60% of employees need to be South African. Failing to do so could draw a fine of R1.5 million or up to 2% of revenue. Huawei, which reportedly has 90% foreign workers, expressed surprise at the court action. [Fin24]

  • Abuse of funds: President Cyril Ramaphosa has denied first-hand knowledge of the abuse of state funding by the ANC for internal party elections in a letter sent to parliament’s watchdog, the Standing Committee on public accounts. The letter was sent in response to questions surrounding an investigation into a recording of Ramaphosa in which he addressed NEC members about the funding of his CR17 campaign and told them he had given the party’s integrity commission a breakdown of where the money came from and what was spent. Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) says it will deliberate over the leaked audio and the president’s response on Wednesday. [Mail&Guardian]

  • Tender corruption: Former health minister Zweli Mkhize has reportedly been implicated in more corrupt activities. Mkhize has been linked to alleged corruption involving the Public Investment Corp and the Unemployment Insurance Fund. It is alleged that when Mkhize served as ANC treasurer-general, he scored kickbacks of R6 million from an advisory firm handling a R1.4 billion contract with the PIC. Mkhize resigned last year after being linked to the R150-million Digital Vibes communications tender – a communications contract with the Department of Health awarded to his close associates. The scandal also led to the suspension of several senior managers in the health department. [Daily Maverick]

  • Markets: US warnings that Russia could invade Ukraine saw world shares slide on Monday, while oil prices reached a seven-year high. The rand has reacted uniquely in remaining stable in a volatile environment. With foreign investors returning to the South African bond market as well as rising commodity prices, market inflows could continue to support the rand. This Tuesday, the rand is trading at R15.08/$, R17.07/€  and R20.42/£. [Reuters]

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5 important things happening in South Africa today