Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 115.3 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 2.56 million. In South Africa, there have been 856 new cases, taking the total reported to 1,514,815. Deaths have reached 50,271 (a daily increase of 194), while recoveries have climbed to 1,433,320, leaving the country with a balance of 31,224 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 76,037.
- Potholes: A R50 million plant acquired by the City of Johannesburg to help fix potholes and other road infrastructure has failed to meet any operational targets, and hasn’t produced any asphalt in five months. Making matters worse, the warranty plan for the plant has lapsed, and there are no skilled workers who know how to run it, or are even certified to do so. Despite this, all workers are still getting paid. There are also no security features. The JRA is currently working to fix things. [Moneyweb]
- Pointing fingers: Former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe is accusing president Cyril Ramaphosa as having a hand in the capture of Eskom. Molefe lost his job at the power utility in 2017, after he was accused of helping the Gupta family score the Optimum coal mine from Glencore. He denies this. However, he now accuses Ramaphosa of having a hand in the sale, saying he stood to benefit the most. He presented no evidence of this, and conceded to the state capture commission that he was just speculating. [EWN]
- Confident: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane says she is confident that parliament will clear her of any wrongdoing, through any process to review her work in the office. Parliament has been informed by an independent panel that there is a prima facie case to impeach her. Mkhwebane has suffered several bruising losses in the courts, and has had her legal competency, independence and motivations questioned. [ENCA]
- Going nowhere: The ANC’s step-aside guidelines reveal that, far from holding corruption-charged party secretary general Ace Magashule to account and making him step aside, it is actually putting him in charge of the process to determine whether members of the party should even be sent to the integrity commission for further assessment. The process will also be stretched over a few months, and outcomes are now determined by internal party machinations, not the courts. Magashule is reportedly eying a presidential run. [Daily Maverick]
- Markets: As markets await a new catalyst, there has been little change in the conditions at play, with participants gauging economic recoveries, potential stimulus and inflation. Local IHS Markit PMI is due today, followed by EU, UK and US PMI as well as ADP non-farm payrolls from the US. The rand is trading in stable terrain, at R14.95 to the dollar, R18.09 to the euro and R20.89 to the pound. [Citadel Global]