Category Archives: Government finances

If South Africa’s provinces were independent states

If South Africa’s provinces were independent states

Perspective matters. A lot. Recent provincial economic data published by Stats SA take on a fresh light when they’re ranked against other countries. Gauteng is South Africa’s economic powerhouse. The province contributed just over a third to South Africa’s economic output in 2016, according to provincial gross domestic product (GDP) figures.1 In runner-up positions were   read more »


Tracking municipal revenue and expenditure

Tracking municipal revenue and expenditure

Keeping a close eye on municipal finances takes a lot of work. One of Stats SA’s tasks is to compile statistics every quarter on the state of local government finances, from 257 municipalities across the country. Figures for the quarter ending December 2017 were recently released, providing an update on how municipalities spend their money.   read more »


Economic growth better than what many expected

Economic growth better than what many expected

In a time when good news seems hard to come by, the latest gross domestic product (GDP) results provide some cautious cheer. The South African economy grew by 1,3% in 2017, exceeding National Treasury’s expectation of 1,0% growth announced during the National Budget Speech in February. After a wobbly start to 2017, which saw economic   read more »


Infographic: Government’s spending priorities

Infographic: Government’s spending priorities

Stats SA recently released a complete overview of total government spending for 2015/16, providing insight into where your tax contributions have gone. Did you know that more money was spent on the police than on primary education, and more on defence than on environmental protection? Have a look at this infographic for more. According to   read more »


The SA business sector: turnover and profit

The SA business sector: turnover and profit

The formal business sector, excluding agriculture and financial intermediation, generated R2,3 trillion in turnover during the second quarter of 2017, i.e. the months of April, May and June. Who was responsible for generating this amount? Stats SA’s Quarterly Financial Statistics (QFS) report, which provides regular updates on the financial state and makeup of South Africa’s   read more »


Government spending: how much goes to environment protection?

Government spending: how much goes to environment protection?

It goes without saying that the natural environment is extremely important to our well-being. Take our rivers and wetlands, for example. The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), together with Stats SA and other departments, published a document in 2015 outlining the health of the country’s river and wetland systems. The data do not provide   read more »


The indigent net widens, but gaps remain

The indigent net widens, but gaps remain

Stats SA’s most recent release of its Non-financial census of municipalities (NFCM)1 report shows an increase in the number of indigent households across the country. South Africa’s 278 municipalities registered 3,56 million indigent households in 2016, the highest number on record since figures were first published by Stats SA in 2004. To put it into   read more »


Electricity: big business for municipalities

Electricity: big business for municipalities

The recent power blackout in Msunduzi municipality again highlights the importance of electricity supply. Large parts of Pietermaritzburg were plunged into darkness for about a week when saboteurs, suspected to be striking workers, disrupted the city’s power grid2. It might be common knowledge that municipalities are involved in power distribution in South Africa, but many   read more »


Municipalities: Which are most in debt?

Municipalities: Which are most in debt?

The answer might surprise you. Stats SA’s recently released Financial census of municipalities report, for 2016, provides in-depth detail on the financial state of South Africa’s municipalities, including levels of debt. How solvent are South African municipalities? To answer that question, we turn to a financial ratio called the debt ratio. The debt ratio is   read more »


Which national government departments pay the highest average salaries?

Which national government departments pay the highest average salaries?

South Africa’s 47 national government departments spent R137 billion on compensation of employees during the 2015/16 fiscal year. Which departments paid their employees the most in terms of compensation? Stats SA breaks it down for you. According to the data, sourced from the latest Financial statistics of national government report1, 70% of the R137 billion   read more »