Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: In South Africa, a total of 17,339 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours, with 3,232 new cases reported, representing an 18.6% positivity rate. A further 87 Covid-19 related deaths have been reported, taking total fatalities to 91,312 to date. The total number of vaccines administered is 28 million.
- Travel restrictions: South Africa continues to face lingering travel restrictions and bans at the start of 2022, despite reports it has passed the peak of a wave of coronavirus infections caused by the Omicron variant. UAE-based airline Emirates is the latest to extend restrictions, with the group notifying partners that its ban will extend until at least 10 January. [Business Insider]
- Parliament fire: Firefighters are battling a second flare-up of the fire that has already destroyed large sections of the Houses of Parliament in Cape Town. The fire was first reported on Sunday morning (2 Janaury) and a 49-year-old man has subsequently been taken into custody. The man is due in court later on Tuesday on several charges, including arson and theft. [EWN]
- Zondo report: Non-governmental organisation Democracy in Action has made a last-minute court application to prevent the handing over of the state capture report to president Cyril Ramaphosa. The group is arguing that the president himself has been implicated by several witnesses in the state capture commission proceedings and that the report should instead be handed over to deputy president, David Mabuza. [BusinessDay]
- New Eskom unit: Eskom expects clarity early this year around the start of its independent transmission unit, which is still awaiting licence approvals and the sign-off of creditors. Separating the business, with generation and distribution arms to follow, is part of the company’s strategy to return to profitability. [Bloomberg]
- Markets: The rand strengthened on Monday, the first trading day of 2022, as an upbeat mood lifted assets globally. Among the positive drivers is the news that South Africa believes it has passed the peak of a wave of coronavirus infections. On Tuesday, the rand was trading at R15.83/$, R17.89/€ and R21.33/£.