South Africa’s Ministry of Health announced today that the number of new coronavirus cases in the country has exceeded 500,000. Health Minister Zewelini Emkize explained that 10,107 new infections were confirmed every day, bringing the total to 503,290. So far, 8153 people have died.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that beginning June 1 more restrictions will be eased to allow the country’s economy to run. However, he also warned the coronavirus situation is still going to get worse amid the easing of some of the lockdown measures. “The risk of a massive increase in infections is now greater than ever,” the President said.
The South African government has officially begun a gradual lift of the restriction measures against the COVID-19 pandemic today. However, the use of masks, as well as other measures to curb the spread, remain in place. South Africa’s Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, made the announcement last Saturday.
South Africa recorded its first two deaths from coronavirus on Friday. “This morning, we wake South Africans up with sad news that we now have our first deaths resulting from COVID-19,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said in a statement. On Friday, South Africa started three weeks of general confinement across the country.
At least one person has died and properties have been destroyed by floods in South Africa. Cooperative, Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, confirmed the fatality. “We are saddened by the loss of life. We just learnt this morning that a washed-up body was discovered in Centurion. There are also secondary problems that are arising, such as sinkholes,” Dlamini-Zuma said.
By Friday, the Independent Electoral Commission had finished counting the ballots in South Africa’s sixth general election since the end of Apartheid. As expected, the African National Congress extended their quarter-century in power with a substantial, yet reduced, majority. What was not expected was both the extent of their reduction, and the subpar performance of at least one opposition party. The new National Assembly will present a fresh set of challenges to President Cyril Ramaphosa and his reform agenda.
In political science, a democratic transition is said to have been completed once at least two parties win elections. If that’s the case, the end of Apartheid twenty-five years ago merely marked the replacement of one dominant-party state by another. Since vanquishing the National Party— and white minority rule— in 1994, the African National Congress has won five consecutive elections, and governed alone. On Wednesday, the ANC will make it six in a row, and a full term for South Africa’s new President, Cyril Ramaphosa.