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5 important things happening in South Africa today

Coronavirus: In South Africa, there have been 7,338 new cases of Covid-19, taking the total reported to 2,836,773. Deaths have reached 84,152 (+253), while recoveries have climbed to 2,618,386, leaving the country with a balance of 134,235 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 14,126,008 (+233,707).

State of disaster: Western Cape premier Alan Winde has called for the end of the state of disaster, saying that a blanket approach to dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic is no longer needed. It should be up to provincial governments to deal with the situation more locally. He said an example would be how Gauteng is now under the same blanket restrictions as the rest of the country when it’s no longer needed. The state of disaster was declared in March 2020 and has been extended every month since June 2020. There is no limit to how many times it can be extended, and the government requires no parliamentary approval to do so. [ENCA]

Pay the price: Pressure is mounting on South African insurers to change how they deal with anti-vaxxers in the country, says Momentum Metropolitan CEO Hillie Meyer. He says that if more people don’t get vaccinated, international reinsurers – who cover some of the risks of local insurers – are likely to start pulling out of the country, or insurers will have to respond by hiking premiums for those who refuse to get the jab. Momentum said that South Africa has seen record death claim numbers as a result of Covid-19. If these don’t return to normal soon, it, and other insurers, will be forced to adjust offerings to incentivise vaccination. [News24 – paywall]

Brick walled: Finance minister Enoch Godongwana has effectively told parliament to wait and see where Treasury is heading on key economic policies, side-stepping specifics in his first Q&A, and saying that policies will be detailed in the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS). The minister was quizzed on the R350 social grant, the cost to the economy of the July riots, rising unemployment, and special appropriations to fun government plans. However, no details were given, only a statement that due consideration will be given. The MTBPS is scheduled for 2 November. [Daily Maverick]

Get out of jail free: Correctional services commission Arthur Fraser has admitted that he overruled a decision by the medical parole board that Jacob Zuma not be released from prison and that he personally made the call to let him go. Fraser said that he provided many reasons, and they were documented but only available to those ‘who need to see them’. The medical parole board said Zuma was in a stable condition and rejected his application to be released. Medical parole is typically reserved for those who are terminally ill or incapacitated. Zuma was ‘frail’, Fraser said. [TimesLive]

Markets: The South African rand drifted higher on Wednesday, defying a strong dollar and risk-off sentiment as the country’s central bank governor made a case for a tighter inflation target. Local GDP figures published this week, although better than expected, had no impact on the strength of the rand. The rand often shrugs off local factors, including GDP figures, and responds to global factors instead. On Thursday, the rand was trading at R14.21/$, R16.78/€ and R19.54/£. – BusinessTech