Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 67.97 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 1,557,600. In South Africa, there have been 6,709 new cases – marking an official second wave of the virus in the country – taking the total reported to 828,598. Deaths have reached 22,574 (a daily increase of 142), while recoveries have climbed to 754,658, leaving the country with a balance of 51,366 active cases.
- Teenager danger: Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says that South Africa’s second wave of coronavirus infections has been driven by teenagers, who have picked up and transmitted the virus by attending ‘super spreader’ events such as Matric Rage. While the virus has proven not to be as fatal to this demographic, they are highly mobile, and are often asymptomatic, posing a significant risk to everyone around them – especially those who are vulnerable to the infection. [EWN]
- Rewrite: Unions are accusing education minister Angie Motshekga of bowing to pressure from education quality assurance group Umulasi to force matrics to rewrite maths and science exam papers. They allege that Umulasi threatened to not recognise the matric results unless the rewrite happened – sending Motshekga into a ‘panic’. This subverted all other views and submissions from other stakeholders, with the minister not referencing any legislation to support the decision. [Mail & Guardian]
- Pay back the money: Global consulting firm McKinsey has once again agreed to pay back monies it received in the wider state capture saga – agreeing to repay R650 million in consulting fees earned at Transnet and SAA. The firm previously paid back R1 billion in fees earned at Eskom. The consultancy was linked to contracts scored by companies managed by the Guptas and their affiliates, and conceded that it had become swept up in the State Capture saga. [Daily Maverick]
- SAA board: The Department of Public Enterprises has appointed a new board to SAA, as the failed airline tries to move ahead with a restructuring and relaunch that will cost South African taxpayers billions. Experts have questioned the appointments however, saying that those who have been named are cited as coming from aviation fields, but lack any real airline experience. There are also questions around exactly what SAA will be doing, with no airplanes, international travel stunted, and no real room in the local market for another airline. 
- Markets: After spending most of yesterday under the R15.00/$ level, the rand briefly gave back some of its gains last night returning to levels of around R15.05 by midnight. The dollar strength was, however, short-lived as prospects for a fresh US stimulus deal remain elusive. Today markets await the EU’s ECB interest rate decision, while locally SA’s manufacturing and mining production data will be released. The rand starts the day at R14.93 to the dollar, R18.05 to the euro and R19.96 the pound. Commentary from Peregrine Treasury Solutions. [XE]