Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: In South Africa, there have been no new Covid-19 deaths, taking the total reported to 99,725. The country has 18,112 active cases and a recovery rate of 96.8%.
- Public health: The Gauteng health department says there is no health crisis in Gauteng despite outcomes of a meeting last week showing that the department owes over R3.1 billion to more than 40,000 suppliers. The Tembisa hospital is most in arrears with over R300 million owed to just under 3,000 suppliers. The department blames this on accounting and data capturing delays. It further stressed that the department was projected to spend 98% of its budget by the end of March. [ENCA]
- State of disaster: The government is expected to announce whether the national state of disaster will come to an end or continue. Various government departments have submitted proposed measures that will come into effect should the national state of disaster be lifted. An expert from the Department of Global Health said that the country would need some preventive measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 for the foreseeable future. [EWN]
- Unemployment: Stats SA is facing growing frustration from political parties and other stakeholders over the delayed release of the Q4 unemployment statistics for South Africa. The stats body delayed the release of the latest figures saying it needed to conduct quality checks. However, it has since fallen silent with no update on when the numbers will be released. At last reporting, the country’s unemployment rate stood at 34.9% and at 46.6% for the expanded rate which includes discouraged job seekers. [TimesLive]
- Mpofu guilty: The Johannesburg Society of Advocates (JSA) has found advocate Dali Mpofu guilty of violating the General Council of Bar’s ethics rules when he told advocate Michelle le Roux to “shut up” during a state capture hearing. The specific rule he violated requires advocates to conduct themselves in a manner where ill feelings towards each other do not impact their professional conduct. Mpofu is considering challenging the legality of this finding. [News24]
- Markets: South Africa’s rand weakened on Monday as the rally in commodity prices eased and markets braced for rate hikes in the United States and Britain. Although the South African currency is considered a relatively risky asset, it has gained favour in recent days as higher gold, palladium, and coal prices boosted prospects of more robust export income. The rand is currently trading at R15.10/$, R16.58/€ and R19.69/£. [Nasdaq]