South Africa Live Updates
- South African President Cyril Ramaphosa put the communications minister on “special leave” for two months, one of which will be unpaid, for breaking the rules of a countrywide lockdown and having lunch with a former official.
- According to the rules, people are only allowed to leave their homes for essential tasks like buying food or seeking medical help. Police arrested more than 17,000 people during the first few days of the lockdown, many for violating the lockdown.
- On 23 March, President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation and announced a 21-day national lockdown effective from midnight 27 March through to 16 April, with the deployment of the South African National Defence Force to support the government.
- The use of force by police and army personnel was controversial with multiple reports of excessive force in enforcing the lockdown. By the end of the first seven days of the lockdown, a total of 2,289 people had been arrested for violating lockdown orders with over 17,000 total arrests for various crimes.
- At the beginning of the national shut down on the 27 March, South African economists predicted that the pandemic could cause a 2.5% to 10% contraction of South Africa’s total GDP in 2020. The national lockdown and resulting economic slowdown reduced demand for electricity by more than 7 500 MW thereby temporarily reducing the impact of the long-running South African energy crisis.
- The JSE lost 15% of its value in the week ending 13 March 2020, its worst week in 21 years. On 19 March, the South African Reserve Bank governor, announced a reduction of the country’s repo rate by 100 basis points or 1 percentage point to 5.25%.