Here is what is happening and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections reached 169.3 million confirmed people, with death toll reaching 3.52 million. In South Africa, there were 4,424 new cases, bringing the reported total to 1,649,977. Deaths reached 56,170 (+93), while recoveries soared to 1,548,092, leaving the country with a balance of 45,715 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 828,204 (+66,301).
- Ship agreement: Turkish electric ship company Karpowership SA has hit back at its competing bidder for a R255 billion power contract. The Turkish-led consortium has, in court documents, denied any involvement in corruption. He hit back at the accuser DNG Power Holdings – asking why, if DNG knew about the corruption, he said nothing until his offer was disqualified. DNG said the bidding process was manipulated to help Karpowership win the deal, and said it was “shaken” by senior government officials and associates of Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe . Kapowerships says if that was the case, DNG would have known about the alleged corruption for 10 months and took no action. [AmaBhungane]
- Ivermectin: The debate around the use of ivermectin to treat Covid-19 continues to flare, with some doctors keen to prescribe the drug to desperate patients – while others are not convinced the treatment is doing anything whether to help. A new study on the drug has reportedly revealed that it had no impact on patients with Covid-19 with mild symptoms. However, it continues to divide medical professionals, without any conclusive evidence being clouded by conspiracy theories over a global move to suppress information on this ‘wonder drug’. Some doctors say people are just in despair. [TimesLive]
- Legal invoices: In an ironic twist, Jacob Zuma’s appeal to the Constitutional Court to quash the punitive costs orders against him, has now resulted in a new punitive costs order. Zuma was due to take his case to the Constitutional Court on Thursday, saying an order directing him to pay court costs in his fight against the state capture report was incorrect. However, the former president’s legal team withdrew from the case, leaving Zuma with no one to represent him. The case was then dismissed by the court within minutes, leaving Zuma with the initial costs order of up to R10 million and another costs order from the failed appeal process. [Daily Maverick]
- Factionalism: Suspended ANC General Secretary Ace Magashule softened his aggressive tone regarding his fight with ANC leaders over his suspension and his order to withdraw. Contrasting his fiery approach and threats of mobilization from ANC branches against its current leaders, Magashule has remained silent on the factional battles this week, avoiding the media and telling supporters to be patient. The ANC hit back at Magashule in court documents this week, saying he couldn’t be surprised at the party’s withdrawal policy, given that he was part of the leadership that drafted and delivered it, and was present at every meeting where it was discussed. . [Mail & Guardian]
- The steps: The rand continued to remain firm against the dollar on Thursday, largely driven by sentiment in external markets which boosted risk appetite. The main factor at play was the accommodative stance of the US Federal Reserve – a reversal of market fears it would tighten. Local unity was also supported by rising commodity prices, as well as the South African Reserve Bank’s more positive outlook for economic recovery. Economists have warned, however, that the rand could be overbought and a correction could ensue. On Friday, the rand is R / $ 13.77, R / € 16.78 and R / £ 19.55.