Taxi drivers took part in a shut down on Monday, leaving thousands of commuters scrambling to find alternative transport to get around. On Tuesday, the Taxis are back on Gauteng’s roads following Santaco shut down.
Coronavirus: Global infections are now over 8.9 million, with the death toll pushing past 468,000. In South Africa, total cases have hit over 100,000 (now at 101,590), with a daily increase of 4,288 cases. Covid-19 related deaths have increased to 1,991, while recoveries are up to 53,130 – leaving a balance of 46,469 active cases.
- EC emergency: Nelson Mandela Bay is on the brink of a hospital bed crisis, with the number Covid-19 cases in the metro hitting close to 5,000, and expected to double in the coming week. Private hospitals in the Eastern Cape have now suspended all non-urgent surgeries and admissions, and are bringing staff from other provinces over to help deal with the looming crisis. Doctors point out that state hospitals will soon be full, and the metro will be left needing 100 extra high care beds.
- Edcon: The majority of Edcon’s shareholders have agreed to the group’s proposed business rescue plan, which will see the group split up and sell parts of its business. The group owns Edgars, Jet and the Thank U rewards programme. It has served retrenchment notices to 22,000 employees – and any stores that are not sold as part of the transactions will be shuttered. Some creditors were opposed to the plan, and tried to get a court interdict to stop it going to vote, saying they were still owed millions. The court dismissed the case. [Reuters]
Zuma: After nearly two decades of dodging and delays, former president Jacob Zuma will today start his pre-trial, getting his day in court to face charges of corruption, racketeering and fraud related to the arms deals of the late 1990s. The pre-trial is an administrative process, to determine the readiness of both parties in the case to begin proceedings. The full trial is expected to take months, once it starts.
Meanwhile, the warrant of arrest for former President Jacob Zuma has been cancelled today.
His lawyer has provided sufficient evidence showing he was ill in February when he failed to appear in the Pietermaritzburg High Court in connection with the arms deal scandal.
- Taxis & Transport Services: The taxi strike is expected to be over today, with Santaco saying that it expects all taxis who left commuters stranded and blocked roads on Monday to be back at work. Taxi drivers were protesting against government’s lack of support for the sector, after transport minister Fikile Mbalula announced a once-off R1 billion payment for the industry. Taxi owners said this was not enough, and also demanded that lockdown restrictions be lifted, allowing taxis to carry 100% capacity.
- Markets: South Africa’s rand steadied against the dollar in late trade on Monday as investors waited for a supplementary budget due on Wednesday that is expected to show a markedly wider budget deficit. Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is expected to paint a bleak picture in the revised budget almost three months after the government announced a R500 billion rand stimulus package leaning heavily on new borrowing. On Tuesday the rand was at R17.34 to the dollar, R21.62 to the pound and R19.53 to the euro. Commentary by Reuters. [XE]