Here is what is happening and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: In South Africa, there were 2,281 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the reported total to 2,882,630. Deaths reached 86,174 (+58), while recoveries soared 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 Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor expressed disappointment over keeping South Africa on the UK’s red list for travel, saying there was simply no basis reasonable for the country to remain on the list. The British government changed the list on Friday, removing countries like Turkey and Pakistan. Turkey’s Covid infection rate is three times that of South Africa. The minister said the government will step up efforts to get off the list as local travelers and businesses suffer losses. [TimesLive]
- Third wave: South Africa’s third wave could end this week, experts say, citing the downward trend in new infections and the decline in the number of active cases in the country. CSIR principal researcher Ridhwaan Suliman said Gauteng and Limpopo were already out of wave three, with North West and Mpumalanga expected to follow shortly. Weekly data showed a 35% decrease in cases, a 23% decrease in hospitalizations and a 3% decrease in deaths. The lower numbers also mean less testing needs to be done, with testing down 11% – meanwhile, testing positivity is 9.3%. [MyBroadband]
- Elections: While the IEC reports that it has exceeded its expectations for voter registration weekend, field reports from many polling stations convey a sense of apathy among voters. The EIC said about 650,000 people registered over the weekend, mostly on Saturdays when registration opens. However, speaking to the media, many voters who showed up to register said they were still in the process of deciding whether or not to vote. Parties have been criticized for campaigning while failing to address 10 years of service delivery failures. [EWN, Daily Maverick]
- Zuma: After failing to convince the Constitutional Court to overturn 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 means of appeal violates his human rights and violates African and international human rights law. Local courts maintained that Zuma had ample opportunity to make his case and make presentations to avoid jail, but chose to ignore them all. [ENCA]
- Markets: The South African rand weakened on Friday, reversing some initial gains and was expected to end the week with an overall loss of nearly 3.8% as the US dollar rose and weak domestic economic data weighed on sentiment . After three weeks of solid gains, the rand reversed its direction, rocked by poor national retail data, lower commodity prices and a recommendation from JPMorgan to sell the currency. On Monday, the rand was at R14.83 / $, R17.37 / € and R20.33 / £.