5 important things happening in South Africa today

Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:

Coronavirus: In South Africa, there have been 12,537 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 2,219,316. Deaths have reached 65,142 (+633), while recoveries have climbed to 1,961,448, leaving the country with a balance of 192,726 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 4,535,222 (+144,331).

  • Warzone: There is little in South Africa not affected by the riots and looting, and the presence of the SANDF has done little to quell the flames. KwaZulu Natal and areas of Gauteng have been turned into literal war zones, with the police and SANDF going head-to-head with thousands of looters and criminals, which appear to be orchestrated into destroying critical infrastructure and leaving destruction in their wake. The rioters have ignored efforts initiated on Tuesday, with their rampage continuing overnight. [BusinessLive – paywall]

  • No bail: The National Prosecuting Authority has been ordered to oppose bail for those arrested for taking part in the looting and riots, held on the grounds of public violence and economic sabotage. The police said 1,234 people have been arrested so far, and they will also be facing additional charges related to the Disaster Management Act and breaking lockdown rules. While arrests have been made, it is apparent that tens of thousands of people have taken part in the looting and riots, with police easily overwhelmed by the numbers. [TimesLive]

  • Medical emergency: South Africa’s vaccine rollout and medical operations have been hampered by the violent riots, with vaccine centres in KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng shutting down as a result of the violence, and blood supplies, medical supplies and emergency services also impacted due to routes being blocked or deemed too dangerous. Emergency medical supplies have to be flown in from other provinces, while police have to escort vital oxygen supplies needed to treat patients with Covid-19. [702]

  • Paying the price: The SA Special Risks Insurance Association (Sasria) is the only insurer in the country that covers damage and loss of property due to civil unrest, and it says it is confident that it will be able to honour insurance claims from the many businesses that have been hit by the looting and riots. The group’s policies can give payouts of between R500-million and R1.5 billion. It is a profitable SOE and has cash reserves of R2 billion and investments valued at R8.5 billion. While no figures have been determined as yet, estimations put the damage done by the riots in the billions of rands. [Daily Maverick]

  • Markets: South Africa’s rand slumped to its weakest level against the dollar in more than two months as rioting weighed on the outlook for an economy already strained by a resurgence of the coronavirus. The violent protests shuttered businesses and disrupted transport networks in the nation’s two richest provinces, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. The rand declined as much as 2%, heading for its weakest level since April 30. On Wednesday the rand was at R14.75/$, R17.39/€ and R20.40/£. [Bloomberg]

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5 important things happening in South Africa today