Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 25.3 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 847,000. In South Africa, there have been 1,985 new cases, taking the total reported to 627,041. Deaths have reached 14,149 (an increase of 121), while recoveries have climbed to 540,923, leaving the country with a balance of 71,969 active cases.
Load shedding: Eskom says its system is severely constrained with 10 generation units down. Stage 2 load shedding will be implemented from 12h00 to 22h00.
- CEO bloodbath: Several high-profile chief executives in South Africa have announced they are stepping down from their positions over the past five months – many linked to the Covid-19 lockdown, which put business operations under immense pressure. Some big resignations include MTN CEO Rob Shuter; Denel CEO Danie du Toit; Spur CEO Pierre van Tonder; AngloGold Ashanti CEO Kelvin Dushnisky; Gold Fields CEO Nick Holland; and many others. [MyBroadband]
- Retrenchments pile up: Following the announcement by Sun International that 2,300 employees’ jobs are on the line, another JSE listed group – Bidvest Bank – now says it too is looking to retrench over 400 workers. Employees in its personal banking, business banking and support divisions will be affected, as the group shifts its focus to digital banking. The retrenchments are also necessitated by reduced revenues and reduced demand for certain products and services. [Moneyweb]
- Covid vaccine: Two Covid-19 vaccines pushed through approvals by Russia and China share a common shortfall, according to experts: both are based on a common cold virus that many people have already been exposed to – and may be immune to – which could make the vaccine less effective. Medical experts have warned that the touted 70% efficacy of the vaccines may be closer to 40% – better than nothing, until something better comes along. China has approved the vaccine for military use, while Russia has approved its vaccine for wide use. [EWN]
- Planned attack: President Cyril Ramaphosa, with the backing of the ANC NEC, has slammed what he called an “orchestrated attack” to undermine the presidency, led by former president Jacob Zuma and sympathisers like former ANCYL leader Andile Lungisa. The so-called ‘Zuma faction’ attempted to put Ramaphosa on the spot and attack his credibility with open letters distributed ahead of the ANC’s weekend meetings. However, the plan backfired, with the party’s leadership uniting behind the president. [TimesLive]
- Markets: South Africa’s rand fell on Monday, giving back some of the big gains it made late last week as the dollar weakened, as sentiment was hit by speculation that infighting within the ruling ANC would prompt cabinet changes. A rebound in China’s economy in August helped the JSE open higher but the local political turmoil sent shares slipping to close in the red. On Tuesday the rand was at R16.82 to the dollar, R22.56 to the pound and R20.17 to the euro. Commentary by Reuters. [XE]