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- South Africa’s government is preparing to ease restrictions that were imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus after a sustained slowdown in new infections. Larger public gatherings are likely to be permitted, making it easier for political parties to campaign for upcoming municipal elections, according to two people with knowledge of the deliberations within government, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. Alcohol trading hours are set to be extended and a night time curfew will probably be shortened, they said. The National Coronavirus Command Council met on Tuesday to assess the rules. President Cyril Ramaphosa will discuss planned changes with officials from religious groups, political parties and civil rights groups ahead of an address to the nation in the coming days, when he’s expected to move the country to virus alert level two, from level three, the people said.
- South Africa’s current-account surplus for the second quarter missed estimates even as it widened to a record amid improving economic activity and growing exports following the easing of restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19. The balance on the current account, the broadest measure of trade in goods and services, widened to an annualised surplus of 5.6% of gross domestic product, or R342.8bn, from a revised 4.3% positive balance in the previous quarter, the South African Reserve Bank said in a report. While that’s the largest quarterly current-account surplus on record, it’s still less than the 6.7% median estimate of 13 economists in a Bloomberg survey. Significant revisions to first-quarter data follow recent changes to the way that statistics authorities calculate GDP data, the central bank said in an emailed response to questions.
- Correctional Services Commissioner 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.
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Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.