5 important things happening in South Africa today

Coronavirus: In South Africa, there have been 1,456 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 3,658,547. Deaths have reached 98,667 (+50), while recoveries have climbed to 3,522,732, leaving the country with a balance of 37,148 active cases and a recovery rate of 96,3%. A total of 30,964,954 vaccines have been administered.

  • State capture: The crime networks that captured and paralysed the State Security Agency between 2008 and 2018 remain within the organisation, according to an investigation by News24. The report reveals that the former minister of state security allegedly lifted suspensions and rescinded the firing of employees and senior executives who were accused of large-scale fraud, money laundering and corruption. The senior executives and co-workers were suspended and fired for allegedly embezzling R1.5 billion from the spy agency and repurposing the organisation to serve the interests of former president Jacob Zuma. [News24]

  • Typhoid outbreak: Western Cape spokesperson for the provincial health department has said that Western Cape municipal water has tested clean for the bacteria that causes typhoid fever. He stressed that teams have still not been able to find the origins of the outbreak yet; however, municipal water sources have been ruled out. There are now three outbreaks in the Western Cape and one in the North West. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases has said that the biggest problem with containing typhoid fever is that even once a person’s symptoms have been resolved and completed treatment, they can still carry the bacteria. [Daily Maverick]

  • Eskom tariff hike: The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) will decide whether to award Eskom’s controversial 20.5% tariff increase this week. South Africa’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said that approval of the tariff increase would be disastrous for South Africa’s businesses. This follows Eskom’s difficult 2021, where extensive power cuts, illegal connections and corruption plague the company. [MyBroadBand]

  • Medical waste disposal: The World Health Organization (WHO) has flagged South Africa’s capacity to safely dispose of medical waste as a ‘ticking time bomb’ on a global scale. With the rise of illegal dumping and Covid-19 medical waste, significant strain has been placed on waste management systems in South Africa. Items like masks, syringes and medical equipment end up in illegal dumpsites. The national government’s director for environmental health admitted that they did not have their own licensed incinerators to dispose of medical waste. As a result, waste management has been left in the hands of the private sector. [EWN]

  • Markets: The South African rand strengthened on Friday and was headed for a weekly gain of more than 1% against the US dollar, as the standoff between the West and Russia over Ukraine boosted appetite for key export gold. Ministers of the Arab oil-producing countries gathered in Saudi Arabia and agreed that OPEC+ should stick to their current agreement to add 400,000 barrels of oil per day to each month’s output. This comes as a rejection to global calls for more oil to be pumped for prices to ease. The rand is currently trading at R15.07/$, R17.13/€ and R20.53/£. [Reuters]

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