Category Archives: Government finances

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 »


How large is the small business footprint?

How large is the small business footprint?

In 2015, Stats SA published an article highlighting the contribution that small businesses make to industry turnover in South Africa.1 The March 2019 Quarterly financial statistics (QFS) report provides an update. The entire formal business sector2 generated R2,39 trillion in turnover in Q1: 2019. Out of this amount, large businesses contributed 62%, followed by small (29%) and   read more »


Debt owed to municipalities reaches R72,4 billion

Debt owed to municipalities reaches R72,4 billion

We often hear of how much municipalities are in debt. But there is another side of the coin. Municipalities themselves are owed money, often by consumers and institutions. Debt owed to South Africa’s 257 municipalities (referred to as net current debtors1) totalled R72,4 billion in the 2018 financial year, according to the latest Financial census of   read more »


A breakdown of the tax pie

A breakdown of the tax pie

Note: The original version of this article was published on 25 June 2019, with the international tax-to-GDP ratio figures based on data from the IMF. After discussions with National Treasury, it was agreed that tax-to-GDP figures from the OECD provide a more relevant picture when South Africa is compared with other countries, as the IMF   read more »


Four facts about our provincial economies

Four facts about our provincial economies

Each province is unique. Data published recently by Stats SA provide a portrait of South Africa’s provincial economies. Here are four facts you might not have known about our economic landscape.   Fact #1 Gauteng is South Africa’s economic powerhouse Don’t let Gauteng’s size on a map fool you. It might be the province with   read more »


How financially independent are municipalities?

How financially independent are municipalities?

Spending and income play an important role in determining local government’s ability to deliver services. The ability of a municipality to generate its own income is an important sign of its independence. The Quarterly Financial Statistics of Municipalities (QFSM) survey collects data on municipal operating expenditures and incomes on a quarterly basis. The December 2018   read more »