Stay up to date with the latest news in South Africa by reviewing all major headlines on Wednesday 3 June.
Although South Africans are enjoying the regulatory reprieves afforded by the recent migration to Level 3 lockdown, a spike in petrol prices, which comes into effect today, is sure to hurt cash-strapped consumers. Meanwhile, the Western Cape receives Health Minister Zweliâ€™s Mkhizeâ€™s vote of confidence despite a burgeoning provincial caseload.
TODAYâ€™S LATEST NEWS IN SOUTH AFRICA, Wednesday 3 JUNE
Lockdown regulations declared unconstitutional
In a landmark ruling, the Gauteng North High Court has declared that Level 4 and Level 3 lockdown regulations implemented by government were both unconstitutional and invalid. Cabinet spokesperson, Phumla Williams, confirmed the judgement which orders government to review, amend and republish regulations within 14 days.
Williams confirmed that that Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, in her role as chair of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) responsible for gazetting regulations within the Disaster Management Act, would respond to the court order in due course.
Petrol prices rise as lockdown relaxes
South African pockets, already damaged by lockdownâ€™s disastrous impact on the economy, will become a bit barer when paying at the pumps today. The easing of the global lockdown, which plunged fuel prices to record-lows due to inactivity and restricted movement, comes with some harsh side-effects for motorists.
Today, motorists will be forced to cough up R1.18 more per litre. This is expected to have a knock-on impact on supply chains which are attempting to recover from months of inactivity.
Still, fuel prices in the country are still lower in June than they were in January.
COVID-19 cases surge amid testing backlog
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa currently stands at 35Â 812. As expected, the lightening of lockdown restrictions â€” although vital for the countryâ€™s socioeconomic prospects â€” has increased the rate of infection. Worryingly, a backlog of approximately 80Â 000 outstanding tests means that data presented by the Health Department is delayed by almost a week.
This is according to Health Minister Mkhize, who noted that, on average, 20Â 000 tests were confirmed on a daily basis. With this in mind, epidemiologists have warned of a massive spike in confirmed cases around mid-June, as more South Africans come into contact with the coronavirus.
Mkhize blamed the backlog on a lack of supply of testing equipment and an overwhelmed administrative system. The minister added that government hoped to reduce the backlog by procuring quicker testing devices.
Western Cape adequately prepared
The Western Cape is adequately prepared to deal with the inevitable peak of coronavirus infections. Mkhize, who toured the province as part of his national oversight schedule, noted that the Western Cape had worked hard to convert halls and conference centres into field hospitals.
Hotspots in the province, which accounts for more than 60% of all case in South Africa, have been threatened with heightened lockdown restrictions in accordance with government risk-adjusted, district-based approach.
However, satisfaction with the provinceâ€™s preparedness, expressed by Mkhize, has ostensibly lowered the possibility of the Western Cape being relegated to heightened restrictions levels.
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