5 essential issues taking place in South Africa at the moment

5 important things happening in South Africa today

Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today: 5 important things happening in South Africa today

Coronavirus: In South Africa, there have been 1,366 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 3,605,222. Deaths have reached 95,093 (+71), while recoveries have climbed to 3,456,461, leaving the country with a balance of 53,668 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 29,884,699.

  • Petrol prices: The Automobile Association has repeated its call for a full review of South Africa’s petrol price, following yet another significant hike for February. The energy department announced that petrol prices would be hiked by 53 cents a litre and diesel by 80 cents a litre on Wednesday. The AA said that South Africans are desperate for a reprieve and urged the government to initiate a review of all the components of the fuel price and conduct an audit of all existing elements to determine if they are still applicable and correct. There have been other calls for the government to institute a petrol price cap or cut taxes, which make up almost half of the price. [EWN]

  • Tyred: The Competition Commission’s hearings into price-fixing in the vehicle tyre market has kicked off after more than ten years of processing. In the case, five tyre companies were accused of cartel behaviour, agreeing to ‘coordinate’ the prices of tyre manufacturing in South Africa. The collusion was allegedly initiated in 1999, but a fleet manager only laid a formal complaint in 2006. In 2009, one company applied for partial immunity and supplied information relating to the collusion. Another tyre manufacturer settled with the commission and paid a R45 million fine in 2011. The remaining three are challenging the case, which will be heard over 19 days. [Moneyweb]

  • Bus contract: The Public Protector has found that the Putco bus contract in Johannesburg has been illegally implemented, pointing to a 20-year monopoly the service has enjoyed in the city without any competitive bidding process. According to the report, Putco’s original 136-week contract with the city from 1997 has been repeatedly extended without going through appropriate processes, while the group faced no competition, restricted other service providers from entering the market, and enjoyed the power of setting its prices for services rendered on behalf of the government. [TimesLive]

  • Step aside: Suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule’s bid to have his ‘step-aside’ order retracted has failed, with the Supreme Court of Appeals dismissing his application. The court said the appeal had no reasonable chance of success and dismissed the application with costs. Magashule was ordered to step aside after he was arrested and charged with corruption and fraud related to Free State asbestos contracts. The ANC’s standing rule is that officials accused of serious crimes must step aside from their roles within the party until their names have been cleared in court. Magashule did not voluntarily step aside and was subsequently suspended. [Daily Maverick]

  • Markets: South Africa’s rand firmed on Monday, regaining some ground after weakening last week when the country’s central bank signalled a gradual pace of policy tightening and expectations grew for aggressive US rate hikes. Last week, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) raised its main lending rate by 25 basis points in a “measured” move, but its forward guidance was less hawkish than the market had positioned for. In contrast, bets for US rate hikes increased on a hawkish shift by the Federal Reserve. On Tuesday, the rand was trading at R15.37/$, R17.28/€ and R20.67/£. [Reuters]