Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: In South Africa, there have been 3,961 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 2,858,195. Deaths have reached 84,877 (+126), while recoveries have climbed to 2,667,296, leaving the country with a balance of 106,022 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 14,690,586 (+20,425).
- Mandatory: Businesses continue to weigh up mandatory vaccination. While groups like Discovery and Sanlam have moved to make Covid vaccination mandatory for employees and people entering their premises, other companies, like Momentum, have shied away from the policy. However, protocols and changes are in place to deal with the unvaccinated or those who refuse to get the jab – such as shifting jobs around or putting client-facing anti-vax workers in the back office. Whether vaccination is mandatory or not, workers who refuse to vaccinate will face some consequences. [News24 – paywall]
- Alcohol ban: The alcohol industry has welcomed the decision to ease trade on alcohol on Fridays as part of the country’s move to lockdown level 2. However, it is also appealing to the government to not push another ban on alcohol in November and December, when the fourth wave of Covid-19 is expected to hit. The holiday season is the busiest time for the alcohol industry and the businesses – such as restaurants – which also depend on it. Both sectors have lost millions of rands and employees’ livelihoods have been put at risk because of the bans.[BASA]
- Failure: Residents are taking their local municipality to court to force them to set up a payment plan with Eskom so that they can stop suffering power outages of up to 20 hours a day. The Mpumalanga municipality is said to owe Eskom R1.2 billion and is failing in its mandate to deliver services. Residents have been experiencing frequent power outages since 2019, between 4 and 20 hours a day, which have escalated in recent times. They want the courts to intervene and force the municipality to do its job. [Moneyweb]
- ANC woes: An unsigned affidavit from ANC employees allege that the party’s leaders made deductions from employee salaries for UIF and PAYE but did not give this money to the intended authorities. The affidavit was originally intended to be the basis for employees to charge party leadership with fraud, corruption and theft, which ultimately was not followed through. The party allegedly did the same with deductions meant for medical aid and provident funds. The ANC is reportedly sitting with R200 million debt, owing SARS R100 million, and unable to pay employees for the last three months. [Daily Maverick]
- Markets: The rand traded around R14.15 against the dollar on Friday, hovering at its strongest level since early July, as the greenback remained subdued. The risk rally continued to bolster the performance of the local currency as markets continued to position themselves for a Dovish Fed for longer than expected. Global uncertainty has increased over the past two months, unsettled by Covid-19 mutations and new lockdown restrictions likely impacting the rand and other emerging market currencies. On Monday, the rand was at R14.23/$, R16.78/€ and R19.67/£.