Flash Briefing: Coalition politics shaky despite looming deadline; July unrest: SAPS commissioner admits SAPS was overstretched; SA’s Covid-19 certificate

  • A clearer picture of who will be in charge in South Africa’s major metros is starting to form – however, agreements and coalitions remain shaky. The ANC is looking like the prime party in regions like Ekhuruleni and eThekwini, while the DA looks set to take control of Tshwane. Uncertainty still lingers around Johannesburg. While the bigger parties have entered into coalition agreements with smaller parties, things remain volatile, particularly where demands from smaller parties are not being met. For example, the DA not supporting ActionSA’s bid for mayorship in Johannesburg, could see the coalition in Tshwane collapse.
  • On Monday, national SAPS commissioner General Khehla Sitole conceded that police were overstretched and didn’t have enough capacity to deal with the July unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. Giving testimony at the South African Human Rights Commission’s national hearings into the July unrest, Sitole said: “We did not have enough capacity to respond. The other main cause was the nature of the modus operandi used. SAPS was so overstretched in such a manner that the current establishment could not be everywhere at all times.” He added that, if the police had more members, they would have responded to the unrest in a better way. The unrest left more than 340 people dead and dented the economy by R50bn.  
  • The Department of Health plans to roll out further ‘upgrades’ to South Africa’s Covid-19 certificate – but there are limitations on how the certificate can currently be used abroad. The department’s acting director-general Dr Nicholas Crisp told eNCA that the certificate is being rolled out in three phases: a pilot phase; a verifiable phase using a QR code; and an international phase that will introduce crypto-security and allow the certificate to be used overseas. Crisp said the certificate is currently designed to allow access to events in SA – including sports, restaurants and workplaces – and that it will be some time before these features are available abroad. This means SA’s vaccine certificate cannot be ‘read’ internationally, with international Covid-19 vaccine certificates also not readable locally.
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