Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: In South Africa, there have been 2,281 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 2,882,630. Deaths have reached 86,174 (+58), while recoveries have climbed to 2,732,363, leaving the country with a balance of 64,093 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 15,992,374 (+22,066).
- Red list: International relations and co-operation minister Naledi Pandor expressed disappointment at South Africa being kept on the UK’s red list for travel, saying that there is simply no reasonable basis for the country to be kept on the list. The UK government made adjustments for the list on Friday, taking places like Turkey and Pakistan off. Turkey’s Covid infection rate is triple South Africa’s. The minister said the government would ramp up efforts to get off the list as local travellers and businesses suffer losses. [TimesLive]
- Third wave: South Africa’s third wave could be over this week, according to experts, citing the declining trend of new infections and the decreasing number of active cases in the country. CSIR senior researcher Ridhwaan Suliman said that Gauteng and Limpopo had already exited the third wave, with North West and Mpumalanga set to follow shortly. Week on week data showed a 35% decreased in cases, a 23% decrease in hospitalisations, and a 3% decrease in deaths. The lower numbers also mean fewer tests need to be conducted, with tests down 11% – meanwhile, test positivity is at 9.3%. [MyBroadband]
- Elections: As the IEC reports that it surpassed its expectations for the voter registration weekend, reports on the ground of many polling stations convey a sense of apathy among voters. The IEC said that around 650,000 people registered over the weekend, mainly on Saturday when registrations opened. However, speaking to the media, many of the voters who turned up to register said they were still deciding whether they would even vote or not. Parties were criticised for campaigning while failing to address 10 years of failed service delivery. [EWN, Daily Maverick]
- Zuma: After failing to convince the Constitutional Court to rescind his 15-month prison sentence, Jacob Zuma is now heading to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in search of justice. Zuma’s lawyers argue that being sent to prison without a fair trial or a way to appeal infringes his human rights and is in contravention of both African and international human rights law. Local courts have maintained that Zuma had more than ample opportunity to state his case and make presentations to avoid prison but chose to ignore all of them. [ENCA]
- Markets: South Africa’s rand weakened on Friday, reversing some early gains and was set to close the week with an overall loss of almost 3.8% as the US dollar rose and weak domestic economic data weighed on sentiment. After three weeks of solid gains, the rand reversed direction, buffeted by poor domestic retail data, a retreat in commodity prices and a recommendation from JPMorgan to sell the currency. On Monday, the rand was at R14.83/$, R17.37/€ and R20.33/£.