South Africa’s consumer confidence has slumped to minus-33 points in the second quarter compared to minus-nine points in the first quarter.
This dismal reading is only three points away from the all-time lowest consumer confidence level of minus-36 recorded in 1985. The low consumer confidence is mainly the result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown that has affected trade in the country.
However, South Africa’s economy was already in recession before the coronavirus outbreak hit the country in March, with its recession deepening in the first quarter of 2020, dragged down by declining mining and manufacturing activities.
The consumer confidence index is compiled by the Bureau for Economic Research.
The survey was conducted in the first two weeks of June, when most retail outlets were open as the country had shifted from Alert Level 4 to Level 3.
Ahead of the data release, some economists predicted it would take into account the impact of the nationwide lockdown aimed at stemming the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the video below, investment analyst Izak Odendaal explains why South Africa’s economy contracted by 2% in the first quarter of this year.:
Johnny Depp takes on UK tabloid in court battle over ‘wife beater’ claims
7 July 2020, 11:22 AM
Johnny Depp begins legal action against a British tabloid on Tuesday in a case that is likely to delve into the private lives of the Hollywood star, his ex-wife actress Amber Heard and a number of other well-known figures.
Depp, the 57-year-old star of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, is suing the Sun’s publisher, News Group Newspapers, and its executive editor, Dan Wootton, for libel over an article Wootton wrote in 2018 calling him a “wife beater”.
The case, which will be heard at London’s High Court, is set to last for three weeks, and both actors are expected to give evidence.
The couple met on the set of the 2011 film “The Rum Diary” and married in February 2015. But she filed for divorce after just 15 months and days later obtained a restraining order against him. She has accused him of physical abuse during the relationship, allegations he denies.
Their divorce was finalised in 2017 when the restraining order was dismissed and Depp agreed to pay her a previously announced sum of $7 million.
Last week, the Sun failed in a bid to have the libel case thrown out despite the judge concluding that Depp had not fully complied with a court order by not supplying details of mobile phone texts to his assistant, which the paper’s legal team said referred to obtaining drugs for the actor.
The judge, Andrew Nicol, has also ruled that Heard, who is expected to attend the trial, can be in court to hear her ex-husband testify.
In his judgments, Nicol has said the Sun would rely on witness statements from Heard and others, arguing that its stories were true.
“In those articles, it is said, the Defendants accused the Claimant of multiple acts of physical violence against Ms Heard, some of which, it is alleged the articles said, put Ms Heard in fear of her life,” Nicol said.
VIDEO: Premier Mabuyane announces COVID-19 strategy
7 July 2020, 10:17 AM
As COVID-19 infections continue to surge in the country, government is upping its ante in a bid to flatten the curve. Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane is currently announcing the province’s community-based COVID-19 response strategy as part of those efforts.
Below is Premier Mabuyane’s briefing:
Kenyan protesters set fire to police station after the killing of a man
7 July 2020, 6:59 AM
Kenyan protesters set a police station on fire after an officer allegedly shot and killed a man for hawking fake hand sanitiser, according to a police report seen by Reuters on Monday.
The officer is now in custody, according to the report.
The police officer fired his weapon after a verbal argument with the man selling the counterfeit product in an open-air market in Kisii County, western Kenya, on Sunday, the report said.
After the shooting, protesters quickly descended on the police station, throwing rocks and setting bonfires, damaging the station and nearby vehicles.
Fourteen police officers were injured and protesters dispersed after an “unquantified number of live and blank ammunitions were used”, the report said.
In March, in the first 10 days of a curfew to curb the coronavirus, at least six people were killed, according to rights group Human Rights Watch.
Safety compliant ECD centres can open immediately: Court
6 July 2020, 12:29 PM
Private nursery schools that comply with COVID-19 safety measures can open immediately, the High Court in Pretoria ruled on Monday.
Trade union Solidarity had taken the case to court and was supported by the SA Childcare Association, which joined the fight as Friends of the Court.
In a statement, the association says its move was not only based on legal opinion but on the belief that there is enough evidence that the reopening of ECD centres doesn’t present a medically unreasonable risk in the midst of the pandemic.
“This opinion appears to be shared by the Minister of Basic Education, who has allowed for the re-opening of Grade R facilities. The only provision is that the standard COVID-19 operating measures that have already been published be adhered to.”
She also said that schools that were not ready to welcome Grade R learners should only reopen when all safety protocols are put in place.
Motshekga is visiting a few schools in Midrand, north of Johannesburg, to monitor their adherence to COVID-19 protocols.
Basic Education spokesperson Hope Mokgathle says the Minister will be making sure that schools have all the equipment as reported.
“She will be doing an oversight visit to three schools in Midrand, these are Midrand Primary School, Noordwyk Secondary and David Makhubo Secondary School. The three schools are in and around Midrand. Basically, what she will be doing there is to oversee and monitor if the schools are following the COVID-19 protocols as prescribed to ensure things like social distancing and make sure that schools have all the equipment as reported.”
In the video below, Motshekga updates the nation on schools:
‘Make health and safety of learners a priority’
Meanwhile, South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) has called on Motshekga to make the health and safety of learners her department’s top priority.
SADTU’s secretary-general Mugwena Maluleke believes the phasing-in of only three Grades, R, six and 11 is an indication that the department is not ready to receive learners at schools.
“Our submission to the Minister had been to study the rising in numbers of the infections in the communities and the delay in phasing in other grades. However, we note that Grades six and 11 will then be phased in. Our position remains that any school that is not in terms of the safety and health precaution should not risk receiving the learners.”