5 important things happening in South Africa today

 ·4 Mar 2022

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

Coronavirus: In South Africa, there have been 1,853 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 3,679,539. Deaths have reached 99,499 (+41), while recoveries have climbed to 3,554,282, leaving the country with a balance of 25,758 active cases and a recovery rate of 96,6%. A total of 31,879,613 vaccines have been administered.

  • Russia-Ukraine neutrality: The US Embassy in South Africa has called on president Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration to take a tougher stance on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. The embassy said that it was important for Africans to have a voice when Russia was choosing to infringe the democracy of Ukraine. It further stressed that attempting to remain neutral inadvertently makes South Africa, a members state of the BRICS alliance, side with the aggressor. This week, South Africa chose to abstain from voting to condemn Russia at the UN General Assembly. The South African ambassador to the UN said that its reasoning was that the resolution was not helpful to the peaceful resolution of the conflict. [News24] [Daily Maverick]

  • Transnet: South Africa’s largest coal supplier to Eskom, Exxaro, has suffered roughly R6 billion in lost export sales due to bottlenecks on South African railways. This comes as the South African rail network continues to be one of the most significant economic constraints. Exxaro, in conjunction with companies from the mining industry and other sectors, has been counting the costs of inefficiencies at Transnet, which remains a crucial part of the economy as it offers supply chain infrastructure spanning a railway network, cargo trains and ports. [BusinessLive]

  • City of Tshwane utility cuts: The City of Tshwane continues its campaign to cut access to municipal utilities, including water and electricity, for companies in arrears with them. As a result, the City recently cut power to the building that houses the justice minister and the State attorney; this comes after the municipality said that they were owed more than R1.2 million in electricity bills. The spokesman for the justice department said that they had been without power for two days before it was restored on Thursday. The City of Tshwane stressed that it has a debtors book of roughly R17 billion in rates, taxes, water and electricity, dating back to before 2016. [News24]

  • Workers failed by municipality: The recent passing of two municipal employees has become indicative of how South Africa’s municipalities are run and the way they are damaging to their own workers. The family of two employees approached the Pension Fund Adjudicator on two separate complaints after Sanlam, a pension and provident fund provider, did not pay out life cover claims. Sanlam had cancelled the life insurance, which was part of the pension package for employees after the municipality failed to pay the risk premiums. This follows warnings by Sanlam that the municipality would be liable for claims arising from promises of life insurance offered to employees. [Moneyweb]

  • Markets: South Africa’s rand traded lower early on Thursday, shedding gains from the previous session with traders turning cautious that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could dampen economic growth. The chief trader at Standard Bank said that he could not see a reason to be overly bullish when it comes to risky assets, despite the way global commodities are playing out. This follows commodity-exporting economies rallying together after Western sanctions on Russia were imposed and oil and metal prices soared. This Friday, the rand is currently trading at R15.23/$, R16.81/€ and R20.33/£. [Nasdaq]
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