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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 17,351 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 2,408,525. Deaths have reached 70,908 (+520), while recoveries have climbed to 2,186,988, leaving the country with a balance of 150,629 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 7,065,432 (+210,765).

  • Peaking: While South Africa may be past the peak of the third wave, hospitals and medical staff are suffering aftershocks as admissions continue to rise. The peak of the wave reflects a topping out of new infections – however, those new cases tend to flood healthcare facilities in the following weeks. Hospitals report being overwhelmed, and oxygen use increasing rapidly. Meanwhile, infections continue to rise in a number of provinces where things have not yet peaked. [TimesLive]

  • Shuffle: President Cyril Ramaphosa has reportedly ramped up private meetings with members of his cabinet, which some are speculating to mean that a cabinet reshuffle may be imminent. Reports point to a reshuffle being on the cards for some months, but the president was forced to delay it due to political manoeuvrings within the ANC, and more recently the widespread civil unrest in KZN and Gauteng. Ramaphosa has been under pressure to deal with dissenting voices within his cabinet, particularly the security cluster, as well as the matter with health minister Zweli Mkhize. [BusinessLive – paywall]

  • Liquidation: As SAA-owned airline Mango goes into business rescue, the process to liquidate another struggling airline, the state-owned SA Express, has hit a roadblock. The liquidation hearing for the airline has been postponed to January 2022, to give unions time to go to court to try and save it. SA Express was placed in provisional liquidation in April last year after a failed business rescue process. The unions argue that without parliamentary oversight a state company can’t be declared insolvent, and are trying to force a debate in parliament. [News24]

  • Public protector: Public protector Busiswe Mkhwebane has scored a court victory with the Western Cape High Court ruling this week that some rules established by parliament for the removal of the head of a Chapter 9 institution are unconstitutional. The rules are the denial of legal representation before a Section 194 Committee, and the appointment of a judge to form part of an Independent Panel. Mkhwebane says the high court ruling is enough to have the process to have her impeached halted. [ENCA]

  • Markets: The rand continues to take its cue from the US dollar, with much of the focus being on the Delta Covid variant as well as hints from the Federal Open Market Committee on quantitative easing, interest rates and an adjusted timeline. General risk aversion in the market lifted on Wednesday, however concerns over the spread of the Delta variant remain top of mind for many investors. On Thursday the rand is trading at R14.74/$, R17.48/€ and R20.54/£.

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