Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: In South Africa, 16.514 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours, with 429 new cases. A further 39 Covid-19 related deaths have been reported, taking total fatalities to 87,819 to date. The total number of vaccines administered is 18,073,784.
- National strike: The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) will embark on a nationwide strike in the engineering sector from Tuesday, over a wage dispute. Marches are planned for the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, while rallies are expected to be held in the Western Cape. [The Citizen]
- Cash crunch: The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) says that it faces a significant skills shortage and cash shortfall, which continues to hamper its anti-corruption work. Investigations are based on proclamations issued by the president, and the entities investigated, like the Department of Health which has come under pressure following numerous allegations of corruption, have to foot the bill. However, these entities argue that they do not ask for the probes, and often the extra spending cannot be accommodated in their budgets. [BusinessDay]
- An added cost: Major insurance companies in South Africa are increasing their insurance premiums for clients who choose to remain unvaccinated. Discovery Life was the first insurer to draw a line in the sand about charging anti-vaxxers higher insurance premiums. Now Sanlam says new applications for personal life cover from Sanlam Individual Life take into account an individual’s Covid-19 vaccination status. [Fin24]
- Facebook: Facebook has apologised for a global outage which saw its Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram services face downtime for several hours on Monday. The underlying cause of the blackout also impacted many of the internal tools and systems the group use in its day-to-day operations, complicating its attempts to diagnose and resolve the problem quickly, it said. “Our engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centres caused issues that interrupted this communication. This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centres communicate, bringing our services to a halt,” it said. [Facebook]
- Markets: South Africa’s rand slumped on Monday, tracking a broader decline in emerging market currencies on concerns over the Chinese economy and rising Treasury yields. Some investors are concerned that a collapse at real estate giant Evergrande could hurt an already fragile Chinese economy and drag on global growth. On Tuesday, the rand was trading at R15.07/$, R17.47/€ and R20.48/£.