Covid-19 fight: Booze ban back, curfew, compulsory masks; ANC plan to grab your pension; Old Mutual in Zim crisis

By Jackie Cameron

  • About 4,000 people have died in South Africa of Covid-19, while more than half of the 265,000 people who have tested positive are struggling to shake off the debilitating disease. The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre reports that the world is approaching 13m confirmed cases of Covid-19 and is heading towards 600,000 deaths. The US has the highest death toll, at 135,000, followed by Brazil at just under 72,000.
  • The ANC unveiled its plan for economic recovery post Covid-19 and it includes a proposal that pension funds should take over government projects, including restructured Eskom assets. It said changes should be made to the Regulation 28 under the Pension Funds Act to enable cheaper access to finance for development. Also at the start of the weekend, Business for South Africa released a detailed plan to save SA. The recovery plan proposed by Business for South Africa will require R3.4trn in funding over the next three years. Vice-president of Business for South Africa, Martin Kingston, says South Africa has reached a fork in the road and that the actions taken by leaders in the immediate future will set the country on one of two paths. The low road could lead to a failed state. The high road would mean a commitment to decisive leadership and bold actions that would take unavoidable, difficult decisions. For more on those ideas to save South Africa from a dire economic situation, listen to BizNews Radio or log on to BizNews Premium where you will find special reports on government plans to tap into your pension and also the B4SA plans to provide a ‘parachute’ to South Africa which, it says, has already fallen off a cliff.
  • Old Mutual could become a casualty of the Zimbabwe financial crisis, with the ruling Zanu-PF announcing that it supports a decision to “eject” the South African multinational. Analysts are not clear on whether the plan is to delist Old Mutual from the Zimbabwe stock exchange or excise the company altogether from the financial services system. Zimbabwean Twitter is abuzz with talk about what this might mean for pensions, banks and the financial crisis. Old Mutual has been accused of playing a central role in “economic sabotage”. President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his team have failed to reverse Zimbabwe’s downward economic trajectory since they unseated Robert Mugabe in late 2017. The country’s hyperinflation is believed to have soared past 1,000%, with entry level civil servants on salaries with a purchasing power that equates to less than one US dollar a day. There’s more on that, on BizNews.com.
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa updated the nation on Covid-19 containment measures on Sunday night, announcing a ban on the sale and distribution of alcohol with immediate effect and a curfew from 9pm to 4am for everyone from Monday 13 July. This is with a view to keeping hospital beds free for Covid-19 patients. Compulsory face-masks are among the measures aimed at halting the spread of the disease. Full details are available on BizNews.com. 
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