Flash Briefing: Third wave shifts to Cpt; IEC plans to delay Oct. 27 elections; Zuma to attend trial in person
Briefing | Flash

Flash Briefing: Third wave shifts to Cpt; IEC plans to delay Oct. 27 elections; Zuma to attend trial in person

  • The epicenter of a third wave of coronavirus cases in South Africa that’s being driven by the highly infectious delta variant has shifted from the economic hub of Gauteng to Cape Town and the surrounding Western Cape province, where hospitals are at risk of being overwhelmed. The Western Cape had more than 38,000 active Covid-19 cases by midday on Tuesday, while there were less than 24,000 in Gauteng, which includes Johannesburg and Pretoria. Almost 3,700 virus patients are currently in hospitals in the coastal region, with 708 of them in intensive care. Premier Alan Winde has said that the province has increased the number of beds dedicated to coronavirus patients, secured more ventilators and employed additional health-care staff. 
  • South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission may file an application with the Constitutional Court on Wednesday to delay a municipal vote due in October. The necessary documentation has been signed and now it’s a matter of compiling it, IEC Chairman Glen Mashinini told reporters at a briefing in Johannesburg. The government on Tuesday declared Oct. 27 as election day, a formality required to enable the authorities to file the court application to delay the vote. Under South Africa’s constitution, the election must be held within five years and 90 days of the last local government vote in August 2016. However, former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke said the vote is likely to be free and fair if held no later than the end of February.
  • Former president Jacob Zuma will leave Estcourt prison next Tuesday to attend court in Pietermaritzburg over four days, and family members, political leaders and supporters are likely to gather outside to show their support. Judge Piet Koen has told Zuma and the state the matter will proceed in open court on Tuesday. This follows a two-page submission from Zuma, filed on Monday, telling the court his constitutional rights would be prejudiced if his criminal trial were to proceed online. Advocate Wim Trengove for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) told the court that the case must proceed regardless of the format. Trengove said security services informed the NPA “all reasonable steps” would be taken to ensure a peaceful process. However, Trengove warned there was no assurance these measures would succeed. “Supporters of the first accused are presently being mobilised on social media to gather in their numbers in Pietermaritzburg on 10 August,” he said.

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