Category Archives: Government finances

Working capital: How do municipalities fare?

Working capital: How do municipalities fare?

How many South African municipalities are in a position to pay back short-term debt? Stats SA’s latest Financial census of municipalities report provides an answer. One way to gauge a business or government institution’s ability to pay back short-term debt is to inspect the working capital ratio. The working capital ratio is a financial indicator.   read more »


GDP falls by 2,0%

GDP falls by 2,0%

The South African economy recorded its third consecutive quarter of economic decline, falling by 2,0% (seasonally adjusted and annualised) in the first quarter of 2020.1 This followed a contraction of -1,4% and -0,8% in the fourth and third quarters of 2019, respectively. The results presented here cover the period 1 January 2020 to 31 March   read more »


A 110-year-old trade venture

A 110-year-old trade venture

It’s fascinating to think that one of the earliest experiments in free trade happened right here in southern Africa. Exactly 110 years ago this month, the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) was born. We explore data showing how the region depends on the oldest surviving trading bloc in the world. On 31 May 1910, South   read more »


An update to municipal spending and revenue (December 2019)

An update to municipal spending and revenue (December 2019)

South Africa’s 257 municipalities spent a total of R95,2 billion in the quarter ended December 2019 (October to December). This is how much it costs municipalities to provide services – such as water, electricity and sanitation – to millions of households across the country. The R95,2 billion was higher than the R84,4 billion that was   read more »


Government spending climbs to R1,71 trillion

Government spending climbs to R1,71 trillion

The South African government spent 7,3% more in 2017/18 than it did in 2016/17. The rise was largely driven by general public services, education and health. This pushed total government spending up to R1,71 trillion1 in 2017/18, R116 billion more than the R1,59 trillion spent in 2016/17. This is according to the latest Financial statistics of consolidated general   read more »


Public-sector capital expenditure continues to fall

Public-sector capital expenditure continues to fall

Public-sector investment in the nation’s infrastructure slowed for a second consecutive year, falling by 8,2% in 2018. This followed a 4,0% decline in 2017. These decreases have seen public-sector capital expenditure slip to a level last seen in 2014. Capital expenditure is money that institutions spend to buy, maintain or upgrade fixed assets such as   read more »


Provincial government spending: Education and health

Provincial government spending: Education and health

South Africa’s 123 provincial government departments spent just over R17 600 per second in the 2017/18 fiscal year. That represents a total of R557 billion over a period of 365 days. The bulk of the money flowed into provincial governments’ two main areas of responsibility: education and health. Education took up the lion’s share. For every R100   read more »


An update to municipal spending and revenue (June 2019)

An update to municipal spending and revenue (June 2019)

South Africa’s 257 municipalities spent a total of R101,3 billion in the second quarter of 2019 (April to June). This is the first time that quarterly municipal spending has breached the R100 billion mark. The R101,3 billion is R15,3 billion more than what was spent in the first quarter (January to March), representing an increase of 18%. This   read more »


Municipal bucket toilet use continues to decline

Municipal bucket toilet use continues to decline

The number of consumer units using municipal bucket toilets fell from 60 557 in 2017 to 42 612 in 2018. This represents a 29,6% decrease in a single year, according to the latest Non-financial census of municipalities report. In 2014, the total was 85 718. The bucket toilets1 mentioned here are those that municipalities provide to communities located   read more »


Constitutional institutions: a financial snapshot

Constitutional institutions: a financial snapshot

Constitutional institutions are tasked with strengthening South Africa’s democracy, by keeping a watchful eye on government and society at large. Recent financial data show which constitutional institutions are receiving the biggest piece of the revenue pie. The Auditor-General was the largest recipient of revenue in the 2017/18 fiscal year, taking up 56% of revenue received   read more »