5 important things happening in South Africa today

 ·14 Mar 2022

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

Coronavirus: In South Africa, there have been 13 new Covid-19 deaths, taking the total reported to 99,725. The country has 18,341 active cases and a recovery rate of 96.8%.

  • Volunteers for Ukraine: Ukraine’s ambassador to South Africa says that anyone who wants to join Ukraine in the war against Russia is welcome to. She reported that “hundreds” of requests from would-be fighters in South Africa were received at the Pretoria embassy. However, she asked the volunteers to be patient while the legality of the recruitment is decided by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation. The South African government’s official stance on the war being waged against Ukraine is neutrality. A reported 16,000 fighters from 52 countries have already volunteered and joined Ukraine’s fight against Russia. [Daily Maverick]

  • Grounded: Kulula and British Airways operator Comair says the suspension of its operating licence is a huge blow, removing about 40% of its operational capacity. The Civil Aviation Authority suspended Comair’s operating licence indefinitely at the weekend due to non-compliance with safety regulations. This decision resulted in hundreds of passengers being left stranded at airports across South Africa. Transport minister Fikile Mbalula says he supports the decision to ground Kulula and British Airways flights over safety concerns, while unions have called for the group’s CEO to resign. [BusinessLive, EWN]

  • Licence renewals: Gauteng Transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo says that motorists caught driving with expired licence cards from April will no longer be given any leniency and will face fines or possible prosecution. He said that no more extensions for expired licences would be granted, as the traffic department can process all applications, including the backlog of some 500,000 cards. The MEC said that extending the licence grace period would have unintended consequences, like giving people who ‘treat the traffic department with contempt’ the room to continue doing so. [EWN]

  • July riots: Eight months after launching a treason investigation into the 2021 July riots, the police have yet to arrest anyone. Investigations continue, with the police reportedly seeking to bring charges against several high-ranking ANC politicians and businesspeople identified as the “masterminds” behind the riots. A senior police officer disclosed to News24 that the investigation would include the former mayor of a Gauteng metro, Cabinet members, former premiers and State Security Agency operatives. The riots caused over R50 billion in damages and led to the deaths of 340 people. [News24]

  • Markets: Share markets firmed while oil slid on hopes for progress in Russian-Ukraine peace talks even as fighting continued. On Sunday, both sides had their most upbeat assessment yet of prospects for talks which saw the S&P 500 increase by 0.3% alongside Nasdaq futures rising by 0.2%. Global bonds remained under pressure while commodity prices looked set to push inflation further. The rand is currently trading at R15.09/$, R16.46/€ and R19.64/£. [Nasdaq]
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