Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
- De Ruyter claims: Members of the ANC – including President Cyril Rampahosa – say Former Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter must report knowledge of criminal activity by senior government officials to the country’s law enforcement. However, de Ruyter claims he had already previously briefed national police commissioner General Fannie Masemola on allegations of corruption at Eskom involving syndicates in Mpumalanga and two ANC government officials. A senior police officer is now investigating the claims made by de Ruyter.
- University chaos: Wits says it will continue its academic programme as scheduled despite widespread protests across the university and the surrounding area. Protests began on Wednesday after the SRC announced a campus shutdown due to financial exclusion and housing problems. Similar protests also occurred at the University of Johannesburg due to issues surrounding economic exclusions and water shortages.
- School punishment: Corporal punishment as a form of discipline is still rife in South Africa despite its ban in the Constitutional Court in 1997. According to the Children Exposed to Maltreatment report by Stats SA, 1 million children experienced violence while at school, with nearly 84% experiencing corporal punishment by a teacher. Stats SA said that corporal punishment is more common in rural areas.
- SAFTU joins shutdown: Trade union federation SAFTU says it will join the EFF’s march later this month. The EFF is demanding an end to the energy crisis and for President Cyril Ramaphosa to resign. Despite joining the EFF on the march, SAFTU said that it was standing up to the crisis and not aligning with the EFF. SAFTU added that only a broad front of left formations could successfully achieve a national shutdown.
- Markets: South Africa’s rand weakened on Thursday as the dollar firmed on strong US labour data, which suggested the Federal Reserve will likely keep rates higher for longer. Investors will look at S&P Global’s South Africa PMI survey, due later today, to see how the economy fared in February. On Friday (3 February), the rand was trading at R18.19/$, R19.29/€, and R21.76/£. Brent crude is trading at $84.53 a barrel.