Flash Briefing: Masondo’s debt-for-climate-swap proposal; Broke ANC’s campaigning strategy; J&J

  • Talks are underway with Johnson & Johnson about running a booster trial in South Africa after the company’s Covid-19 vaccine was used in a mass trial of almost half a million health workers in the country. The trial would include participants from that study, known as Sisonke, and could possibly start in October, according to Glenda Gray, who is co-lead of the mass trial. It would add to a booster study in the country using ImmunityBio Inc.’s shot that has already started. A number of the world’s richest countries have started giving some of their citizens additional shots with the aim of bolstering the immune response against the virus several months after their initial inoculation, as the number of antibodies may wane. 
  • David Masondo, South Africa’s deputy finance minister, suggested that investors forgive about R146bn of sovereign debt in exchange for the national power utility meeting climate targets. In order to transition from the use of coal to generate electricity to renewable energy Eskom will need to borrow about R400bn, equal to its current debt, and will need a “complementary transaction” to achieve that, he said in a speech on Tuesday. Under Masondo’s proposal, which he termed a debt-for-climate-swap, a portion of national debt, which he suggested could be R146bn, would be forgiven by new or existing creditors. In exchange South Africa would pledge an equivalent amount as an equity injection into Eskom, conditional on it closing down coal-fired plants, and as guarantees for further borrowing, he said.
  • The ANC says it will resort to tried-and-true campaigning methods, given that it cannot afford to splash out for the coming elections. The party said it would rely on volunteers and the council candidates to go door-to-door in communities across the country. There will be no rallies, however, due to Covid-19 restrictions on gatherings. The ANC is broke and has been unable to pay salaries and benefits. Election polls show the party has lost support, dropping below 50% in the latest Ipsos survey. The DA is also lower at 17.9%, while the EFF is up to 14.5%.
(Visited 1,061 times, 17 visits today)