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5 important things happening in South Africa today



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

Get a Covid-19 shot: South Africans have been advised to get a Covid-19 vaccine or booster shots – particularly the elderly and those with underlying health issues. This comes after the highly-transmissible XBB.1.5 mutation – known colloquially as the ‘Kraken’ – was discovered in South Africa. Although the Word Health organisation has called the Kraken mutation the most transmissible subvariant of Covid-19, Virologist Prof Tulio de Oliveira says South Africans should not expect significant consequences as most of the population are immunised – via vaccine or prior infection. De Oliveira also noted that the Kraken is not a new variant and is a mutation of Omicron.

Poisoned chalice: Chris Yelland, managing director of EE Business, says the alleged attempted murder of Andre De Ruyter will likely scare off credible people from the Eskom CEO position so that criminal syndicates could continue to dominate and thrive off the corrupt practices at the power utility. Yelland also says there is a fear that De Ruyter’s replacement will be a political appointment rather than the best-skilled person for the job.

Eskom in the hot seat: MPs will be hauling Eskom management before parliament before it officially opens next month, demanding answers for the extended and elevated levels of load shedding in the country over the past few months. Parliament will seek answers for why load shedding is currently so bad, and wants Eskom to tell it what it intends to do to resolve the problems. Public Enterprises committee chairperson Khaya Magaxa said the outlook for load shedding in 2023 was not positive.

Mayor resigns on first day: The Patriotic Alliance’s (PA) Boitumelo Elizabeth Lethoko has resigned as the mayor of Ditsobotla municipality in the North West –  hours after her election into the role. The decision resulted from the ANC’s attempt to table a motion to appoint a municipal manager, which the PA and EFF protested as the ANC did not follow proper council procedures. The PA warned that the public protector would find against the Ditsobotla municipality’s administration if appointments were conducted in this manner. This follows coalition drama in Johannesburg, Ekurheleni, and eThekwini.

Markets: South Africa’s rand firmed against a weaker dollar on Monday, as risk sentiment improved on increasing hopes of the US Federal Reserve slowing the pace of its interest rate hikes. Analysts attributed the rand’s recovery to last week’s strong US labour market data and investors taking a more measured view of indications that the government may try to change the South African Reserve Bank’s mandate. On Tuesday (10 January), the rand was trading at R16.93/$, R18.17/€, and R20.59/£. Brent crude is trading at $79.12 a barrel.

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