Flash Briefing: UCT to impose mandatory vaccination; IEC says vaccine not needed to vote; Evergrande deal on hold

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  • The University of Cape Town (UCT) council has approved in principle a proposal to make Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory for both staff and students. This means that staff and students will need to provide acceptable proof of vaccination against Covid-19 in order to gain access to the campus. The policy is expected to apply from 1 January 2022.
  • The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of South Africa has reiterated that voters will not be expected to provide proof of Covid-19 vaccination to cast their ballots in the upcoming municipal elections. The IEC took to Twitter this week to quash rumours around a vaccination mandate, saying that vaccination is not linked to one’s right to vote. South Africa’s sixth round of municipal elections takes place on 1 November with over 26 million citizens registered to vote. The election will go ahead despite several legal hurdles and health concerns surrounding the potential of a super spreader event. Government’s initial target of vaccinating 70% of the population by the end of 2021 is becoming increasingly unattainable, but while incentives are being contemplated to nudge people towards vaccination, the IEC says it will not impose any mandate on voters. However, administering voluntary vaccines at voting stations may be considered.
  • Evergrande Group’s deal to sell a majority stake in its property services unit has been put on hold, adding to the Chinese property developer’s precarious position. According to Reuters, the embattled firm, which faces more than $300bn in debt, was in talks to sell 51% of its stake in Evergrande Property Services to a smaller rival for around $2.6bn. China’s second-largest developer has missed multiple rounds of interest payments on its international bonds in the past weeks, and the deal could be the cash injection its parent company desperately needs. The reason for pausing the plan is not yet clear, but reports indicate Evergrande is waiting for China’s regulatory approval.
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