Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: In South Africa, a total of 52,408 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours, with 6,270 new cases, which represents a 12% positivity rate. A further 175 Covid-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 84,327 to date. The country administered 225,558 vaccines over the past 24 hours, taking the total number of vaccines administered to 14,367,151.
- Election Warning: Doctors at Stellenbosch University warn that the local government elections set for the beginning of November could become a Covid-19 super spreader event unless the population gets vaccinated. The medical experts stressed that a fourth wave of infections can be prevented if more people are vaccinated. The doctors are working in high care and ICU units at Tygerberg Hospital. Virologist, professor Wolfgang Preiser, said: “Those who are vaccinated are largely protected and if enough of us are immune then this will also help protect the others.” [ENCA]
- Mandatory vaccinations: Insurer Sanlam is working on a policy for mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for its staff, citing workplace safety and prevention of loss of life. The policy will apply to all employees in its local operations, except in “exceptional” circumstances. “We would prefer to vaccinate as many of our employees as possible. However, some people may have valid reasons for not vaccinating, such as medical conditions. Such exceptional cases will be addressed in terms of the group’s relevant policies,” it said. Sanlam follows a decision by Discovery, to make Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory for all staff by 2022. Private education provider, Curro said it will also require that all staff be vaccinated by year-end. [News24]
- Cyber threats: A further two South African government agencies, the Department of Justice and the South African National Space Agency, have been hit by ransomware attacks. This comes only months after Transnet suffered a crippling cyber attack. The Department of Justice (DOJ) said a breach on Monday led to “all information systems being encrypted and unavailable to both internal employees as well as members of the public”. “All electronic services provided by the DOJ are affected, including issuing of letters of authority, bail services, email and the departmental website,” it said. The cyber attack on the SA National Space Agency, Sansa, saw more than 14 gigs of data stolen by a group called CoomingProject, which has posted some of the filched data online. [Daily Maverick]
- Donations disclosure shock: Only the ANC, DA and ActionSA have disclosed direct pledges out of 504 parties registered with the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC). The DA reported the largest single donation – R15 million. In apparent disregard for the law meant to herald a new era of transparency in political party funding, parties have neglected to disclose their financial backers, failing to meet the legal requirement to disclose direct donations and offers of goods and services of more than R100,000. [BusinessLive]
- Markets: The South African rand strengthened in trade on Thursday, breaking below the R14.20/$ mark. The dollar weakened slightly despite reports overnight showing lower US jobless claims. The Biden administration took steps toward requiring large firms to mandate vaccinations or testing, stepping up its fight against the delta variant. Data from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) showed that output in South Africa’s manufacturing sector declined by 4.1% in July compared with the same month a year ago, while the country’s current account balance widened to its largest surplus ever at R343 billion, for the second quarter, according to data released by the SA Reserve Bank. On Friday, the rand was trading at R14.17/$, R16.64/€ and R19.54/£.