Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have hit 138.8 million confirmed, with the death toll reaching 2.98 million. In South Africa, there have been 1,599 new cases, taking the total reported to 1,561,559. Deaths have reached 53,498 (a daily increase of 75), while recoveries have climbed to 1,486,873, leaving the country with a balance of 21,188 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 292,623.
- Jail me: Former president Jacob Zuma continues to defy the courts, saying that he will not make a submission to the Constitutional Court on what his sentence should be if he is found guilty of contempt. Instead, Zuma has once again claimed unfairness and bias from the judiciary and that he was ready to be a ‘prisoner of the Constitutional Court’, daring the courts to arrest him, and threatening social and political unrest as the fallout. [News24]
- Stimulus effects to peak: South Africa’s Reserve Bank sees the impact of its unprecedented monetary policy stimulus peaking this year and boosting expansion for years to come. While the monetary policy committee cut its benchmark rate by 275 basis points in early 2020 to a record-low 3.5% to counter the effect of the coronavirus, the changes are still filtering through to the economy and will linger in the system for some time, boosting growth in the outer years. [Bloomberg]
- Land invasions: The Western Cape provincial government says that there had been just over 1,000 attempts of land invasions over the past nine months. The department said it had now spent more than R355 million to prevent illegal land invasions and the occupation of completed units. [EWN]
- ANC was not captured: ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe has continued his testimony at the State Capture Commission, addressing concerns that ANC members were ‘captured’ by the Gupta family. However, Mantashe was adamant that the ANC itself was not captured and that senior members had been instructed to stop taking orders from the Guptas when their influence became clear. [IOL]
- Markets: While participants watch to see if equity markets will reach a record high as inflation fears subside and yields continue to ease, the rand is not making much progress. The local unit showed little interest in local or global events, as it struggled to stay below R14.50/$, with momentum clearly out of the picture. The day starts off at R14.43/$, R17.28/€ and R19.87/£. [Citadel Global]