Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: In South Africa, there have been 591 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 2,917,846. Deaths have reached 88,754 (+80), while recoveries have climbed to 2,809,238, leaving the country with a balance of 19,854 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 20,794,191 (+213,359).
- Petrol price: As South Africans grapple with rising fuel prices – and another massive increase on the cards for November – economists say that costs will eventually come down, and there could be a sharp decrease in 2022. This is because international oil prices will eventually stop climbing, as supply will ultimately catch up to demand. However, in the meantime, prices remain frustratingly high. CPI data published on Thursday showed that fuel prices have increased 20% in the last year. Rising fuel prices and food prices have driven headline inflation, the latter of which has increased 7% over the last year. 
- Investec: A massive leak of German prosecutors’ documents has revealed how investment bank Investec took part in the epic European “cum-ex” scam out of its small Irish office. Approval for the bank’s participation in the schemes, witnesses and documentary evidence suggested, came from the head office in Johannesburg. The leaks reveal the extent that Investec was involved in suspect deals worth hundreds of millions of Euros that resulted in European governments being defrauded through the infamous “cum-ex” withholding tax scam. They also suggest that senior staff at the bank, who are still employed there, signed off its participation in the scheme. [amaBhungane]
- Spam calls: South African companies appear to be struggling with the country’s new privacy laws, with many unable to deal with POPIA queries and issues speedily. Under the Protection of Private Information Act (POPIA), in contacting customers, companies are obliged to tell them where they got their details from, how they are being processed, what they are being used for and whether or not they are being passed on to third parties. Many companies are using the POPIA as an excuse to obfuscate or even refuse their obligations under the POPIA and further place the onus on customers to track down where they opted-in to marketing. [Moneyweb]
- Defamation: Former Eskom CEO Matshela Koko is suing the power utility’s spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha for defamation, seeking R600,000 over tweets sent two years ago, when Mantshantsha was a journalist covering Koko’s exit from the company under a cloud of corruption allegations. Koko homed in on three tweets, where Mantshantsha called the former exec a thief and made references to 8 properties and a Dubai bank account. Koko denied all allegations and now claims that the statements besmirched his reputation. Mantshantsha has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise R1 million to fight the defamation case in court. He says Koko’s two-year delay on the case was orchestrated to ensure he couldn’t be covered by his employer and called it a publicity stunt. [News24]
- Markets: The South African rand advanced on Wednesday, bolstered by data showing consumer price inflation quickened slightly to 5.0% last month. Although the rise in the consumer price index in September was in line with analysts’ forecasts, for some traders it served as further evidence that pressure is building on the central bank to raise interest rates. The SARB has kept its main lending rate on hold at a record low of 3.5% for its past seven monetary policy meetings, lagging other emerging market central banks. On Thursday, the rand was at R14.44/$, R16.83/€ and R19.95/£. [Reuters]