South Africa is all over the news right now. And it’s not that something critical or innovative has happened in the cultural sphere, like when Play Amo South Africa became available to locals, or something new in the business and economic sphere. Briefly about the most important thing in South Africa in our article.
2,273 new cases of Covid-19 have been reported in South Africa, bringing the total number of reported cases to 2,963,679. The number of deaths reached 89,822 (+25), and the number of recovered increased to 2,849,349, resulting in 24,418 active cases in the country. The total number of vaccines administered was 25,448,767 (+160,350).
As the Government conducts consultations and investigations on the issue of vaccination mandates amid calls from businesses and other groups for their early introduction, legal opinions are emerging on how viable such mandates can be from the point of view of the law. Legal experts believe that eventually the mandates can be defended in court. The consultation process protects the Government from arguments that it is acting too hastily, and the Constitution itself (art. 36) provides for the possibility of restricting individual rights if it is reasonable and justified. Lawyers want to achieve legal clarity on mandates as soon as possible.
Scientists are gradually gaining a more complete understanding of the Omicron variant. There are early signs that this option does not cause more severe diseases, and data from Gauteng show that vaccinated people feel much better than unvaccinated ones – positive news for the global vaccination campaign. Patients have flu-like symptoms, dry cough, fever, night sweats, and general body aches and malaise – but doctors say it’s too early and the information may change. NICD data also indicate that the virus is more common in young people. Vaccine manufacturers are already working on developing enhanced vaccines to combat this variant.
Fuel Price Increase
Analysts warn that the latest increase in fuel prices, effective from Wednesday, will have severe consequences for consumers. On Monday, Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe announced that this week motorists will pay an additional 81 cents per liter for gasoline, as a result of which the price will exceed 20 rands per liter. The AA warned that higher prices would have an impact on the entire supply chain and increase inflationary pressures on the economy. Analysts say that the increase in fuel prices this year has already pushed many consumers to the edge of their budgets, and the latest increase may push them to the edge of the abyss. There are calls for a complete review of fuel prices in South Africa, including tax cuts.
Following reports that the government has finally decided to abolish electronic fines in Gauteng, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula issued a statement denying that such a decision had been made. Mbalula, who has been promising to solve the problem of electronic road tolls for several years, said that the Cabinet of Ministers has not yet made any decision on electronic road tolls and that the decision is not simple – to cancel or not to cancel the system. He set another deadline, saying the National Treasury would have the final say and would present these findings in the 2022 budget speech.
On Monday, the South African rand strengthened, recovering from last week’s fall to its lowest level since October 2020 amid concerns about the discovery of a type of Covid-19 virus in the country, which was called the most alarming. Stock markets also recovered after a sharp drop in hotel stocks amid news that a number of countries will ban travel from South Africa, which undermines hopes for a record season for the tourism industry, which has been hit hard by the pandemic. On Tuesday, the rand was trading at R16.16/$, R18.27/€, and R21.52/£.