Category Archives: Government finances

GDP rallies as lockdown restrictions ease

GDP rallies as lockdown restrictions ease

South Africa’s economy rebounded in the third quarter of 2020 (July–September), coinciding with the easing of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. All industries recorded an increase in economic activity compared with the second quarter, with manufacturing, trade and mining leading the charge. Businesses were supported by an increase in both exports and household spending. Gross domestic product   read more »


What does government spend money on?

What does government spend money on?

A recent release from Stats SA provides a breakdown of financial data from all 708 institutions in government. This article provides an overview of what government spent money on in 2018/19, with focus on the public service wage bill. South African general government spent R1,79 trillion in 2018/19, according to the latest Financial statistics of consolidated   read more »


An update on municipal finances for the quarter ending June 2020

An update on municipal finances for the quarter ending June 2020

Even though South Africa’s 257 municipalities increased their spending in the quarter ended June 2020, the rise was slower than increases recorded in previous quarters. Spending increases by 4,6% Local government spent R105,9 billion in the quarter ended June 2020, up by R4,6 billion (or 4,6%) compared with the quarter ended June 2019, according to the latest   read more »


Public-sector infrastructure investment falls for a third year

Public-sector infrastructure investment falls for a third year

The economic downturn and reduced levels of government infrastructure investment have taken a heavy economic toll on capital spending by the public sector. Public-sector spending on infrastructure (referred to as capital expenditure) decreased for a third consecutive year, falling from R250 billion in 2018 to R231 billion in 2019 according to Stats SA’s latest Capital expenditure by   read more »


Further data shows lagging infrastructure investment

Further data shows lagging infrastructure investment

In June 2020, government announced the roll-out of an extensive infrastructure investment drive that would cover 55 projects across six sectors. The programme is an attempt to kick-start an economy battered by COVID-19, as well as to address a history of chronic infrastructure underspending.1 The concern over declining infrastructure investment is further confirmed by Stats   read more »


Steep slump in GDP as COVID-19 takes its toll on the economy

Steep slump in GDP as COVID-19 takes its toll on the economy

The punch in the gut was severe. Perhaps the second quarter of 2020 will become known as the pandemic quarter. South Africa’s economy suffered a significant contraction during April, May and June, when the country operated under widespread lockdown restrictions in response to COVID-19. Gross domestic product (GDP) fell by just over 16% between the   read more »


EBA spending on transport declines

EBA spending on transport declines

The South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) and the Gautrain Management Agency were two of five transport institutions that cut spending in 2018/19. Total expenditure by extra-budgetary accounts and funds (EBAs) involved in transport fell by 3,5%, from R32,0 billion in 2017/18 to R30,9 billion in 2018/19.1 This is according to the latest Financial statistics of   read more »


An update to municipal spending and revenue (March 2020)

An update to municipal spending and revenue (March 2020)

Local government increased spending by 12,2% over the last year, driven largely by increased spending on employee costs. South Africa’s 257 municipalities spent R96,8 billion in the quarter ended March 2020 on operational costs, up from R86,3 billion in the quarter ended March 2019. This excludes capital spending. The latest Quarterly financial statistics of municipalities report shows   read more »


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 »