March 9 — As the world continued to panic about more coronavirus cases, the oil price plunged to levels last seen during the gulf war on Monday. Saudi Arabia increased oil production after its Opec+ ally, Russia, refused its proposed calibrating measures to support volatile crude prices in the face of the Covid-19 outbreak. Trading on the US Stock Exchange was suspended for 15 minutes as the decision by Saudi Arabia compounded fears in an already skittish global financial market. The oil price crash triggered a trading cut-out put in place after the 2008 financial crises.
March 9 — Health minister Zweli Mkhize confirmed another six people tested positive for coronavirus in SA, on top of the four new cases reported earlier in the week. This group of six is not part of the 10 who had returned to SA from Italy. They had all travelled to Europe independently, taking the total number recorded in SA to 13.
March 10 — Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s finding that President Cyril Ramaphosa deliberately misled parliament over a donation he received from Bosasa was set aside by the high court in Pretoria. The judgment against Mkhwebane found that she had reached an “irrational and unlawful conclusion on the facts before her.” This is not the first time Mkhwebane’s findings have been set aside: in May 2019, the court set aside her report on the Gupta-linked Vrede farm finding she released in 2018.
March 10 — On Tuesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson defeated his first party rebellion over a government decision to allow China’s Huawei to have a role in building Britain’s 5G phone network. Huawei, the world’s biggest producer of telecom equipment, has been caught in a stand-off between Washington and Beijing after the US accused it of spying on Western states — allegations the company has denied.
March 10 — Caught in a perfect storm, Sasol is failing to fuel investor confidence. The petrochemical giant, which continues to reel from an unlucky foray into the US at its Lake Charles project, plunged to a loss for a fifth session on Tuesday. The spectacular decline in value has seen the company’s market cap lose about R75bn and the exit of co-CEOs Stephen Cornell and Bongani Nqwababa in October.
March 11 — Italy said it would spend up to €25bn to fight the coronavirus epidemic that has already killed 631 people there and put the country’s hospitals and the economy under severe strain. The announcement came as Italians grapple with a nationwide clampdown on public gatherings, which has emptied streets and shuttered everything from churches and restaurants to tourist sites.
March 11 — UK chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak pledged a £30bn stimulus package to fight the potentially devastating economic effect of coronavirus. The Bank of England made an emergency interest-rate cut earlier in the day. In a sign of the scale of the challenge ahead, Sunak announced downgrades to official growth forecasts too. The estimate for 2020 expansion was lowered to 1.1% — which would be the worst since the financial crisis — and 2021’s to 1.8%.
March 11 — Three patients were monitored in the Tygerberg Hospital's infectious diseases ward following the Western Cape's first coronavirus case. The patient is in self-isolation two days after arriving in Cape Town from a visit to Europe. On Wednesday health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo and premier Alan Winde addressed the media at one of the entrances to the hospital, which will serve as a designated hospital for infected patients.
March 12 — US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he was not concerned about being exposed to the coronavirus after dining last week with a Brazilian government official who has since tested positive for the disease. Brazilian officials on Thursday confirmed that Brazil's communications secretary, Fabio Wajngarten, had contracted the virus and is now under quarantine at his home. Wajngarten had been on an official visit to the US with President Jair Bolsonaro, and posted a picture on Instagram of the meeting at Trump's Florida resort at the weekend, showing him standing next to Trump. Vice-president Mike Pence was also next to Trump.
March 13 — Jacob Zuma will have to face the music after his bid against a ruling that could see him go to trial was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Appeal.
The court issued its decision without even hearing argument from Zuma’s lawyers. The SCA stated that Zuma’s leave to appeal application was dismissed because “there is no reasonable prospect of success in an appeal and there is no other compelling reason the appeal should be heard”.
Zuma stands accused of having a corrupt relationship with his former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik.