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5 important things happening in South Africa today



Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:

  • High court declares ID blocking unconstitutional:  The Gauteng high court has declared that the Department of Home Affairs’ practice of blocking South African IDs is an unjust and irregular administrative action that is inconsistent with the South African Constitution. This decision comes after the department went on a widespread campaign to block IDs it deemed suspicious and fraudulent – affecting over 700,000 citizens. [Daily Maverick]

  • Joburg still waiting for Lilian Ngoyi street explosion funds: Businesses in Johannesburg’s CBD are struggling to keep their doors open as progress in the R196 million reconstruction of the destroyed street remains at a standstill. This is because the city is still waiting for the explosion (which occurred on July 19, 2023) to be declared a disaster in order to receive funding to begin repairs. [Mail & Guardian]

  • Joburg blaze could have been less severe: A private fire brigade chief told the Khampepe Inquiry into the fire at 80 Albert Street that killed 76 people, that Johannesburg firefighters were not given proper equipment to perform their duties adequately. Chief fire officer at Fire Ops SA, Wynand Engelbrecht, told the inquiry that the city failed to take action when it had a chance to evict illegal residents of the building and that he believes that Johannesburg firefighters had the passion to do their work, but had very little support from the city. [News24]

  • Nearly 99% private school matric pass rate: Matrics who wrote the 2023 National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams through the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) have achieved an overall pass rate of 98.46%, which is slightly higher than the 98.42% achieved in 2022. [News24]

  • Markets: The rand has weakened against the dollar, which hit a one-month high on expectations that the US Fed will not cut interest rates in March. On Thursday (18 January), the rand was trading at R19.03 to the dollar, R24.21 to the pound, and R20.70 to the euro. Oil is trading at $78.16 a barrel. [Nasdaq]

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