Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have passed 16.2 million cases, with the death toll approaching 650,000. In South Africa, cases are now at 452,529 in total, with 7,067 deaths. There have been 274,925 recoveries, leaving the country with a balance of 170,537 active cases.
- IMF bailout: Treasury says the R70 billion loan to South Africa, approved by the IMF on Monday night, will be used towards building the economy and mitigating the damage done by the Covid-19 pandemic. The loan is a low-interest loan, which will support health and frontline services, protect the most vulnerable, drive job creation, unlock economic growth through reforms, and stabilise public debt. It follows a R5 billion loan given to South Africa by the African Development Bank last week. [BusinessTech, EWN]
- Worst pandemic: The World Health Organisation says that the Covid-19 pandemic is the most severe health crisis the health body has faced, saying that other global crises, such as the ebola outbreak, zika virus outbreak and swine flu outbreaks in the past paled in impact. The group said that Covid-19 has changed the world and how it works – and warned that there was still a long road ahead in dealing with the virus. [BBC]
- Tender bonanza: Presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko is taking a leave of absence after it was reported that her husband, Amabaca King Madzikazi Thandisizwe Diko, has been awarded tenders to the value of R125 million, since March. The tenders are being investigated as part of a new push by the Special Investigative Unit to sniff out corruption involved in state tenders during the Covid-19 pandemic. Diko insists no money has been paid. [ENCA, Daily Maverick]
- Constrained: Eskom has again warned of a heavily constrained system, following breakdowns of generating units at some of its power stations. While some units have returned to service, maintenance on others have been delayed. Any further breakdowns could lead to supply issues, particularly during peak times. Eskom was forced to implement load shedding earlier in the month, with that round of blackouts extending beyond the three days projected the group’s management. [Eskom]
- Markets: The rand continues to claw back lost ground as the dollar remains under pressure ahead of the highly anticipated stimulus by the US Fed, expected to be announced later this week, even as tension between the US and China continues to create uncertainty. With no data scheduled to drive currency markets today, we can expect them to continue their current momentum. We start the day on the front foot at R16.37 to the dollar, R19.26 to the euro and R21.11 to the pound. Commentary by Peregrine Treasury Solutions. [XE]