Category Archives: Government finances

Third wave of COVID and civil disorder pummel economy as GDP falls by 1,5%

Third wave of COVID and civil disorder pummel economy as GDP falls by 1,5%

Under the twin pressures of tighter COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and a spate of civil disorder in July, as well as several other headwinds, the South African economy contracted in the third quarter of 2021 (July–September). After recording four consecutive quarters of positive growth, real gross domestic product (GDP) slumped by 1,5%1, eroding some of the   read more »


An overview of government spending

An overview of government spending

Total South African government spending flirted with the R2 trillion mark in the 2019/20 financial year, according to data published by Stats SA. The data, recently published in the Financial statistics of consolidated general government statistical release, covers the period before the COVID-19 pandemic, providing a benchmark for when comparable pandemic-era data become available. The South   read more »


The decline in public-sector infrastructure spending

The decline in public-sector infrastructure spending

A simple picture can tell a striking story. The bell-shaped chart below shows the rise and subsequent decline of South African public-sector infrastructure investment. Capital expenditure represents the money that is spent on construction, machinery, equipment, land, buildings and other fixed assets. This form of investment has an impact on communication, travel, logistics and the   read more »


Five facts about the electricity, gas & water supply industry (2019)

Five facts about the electricity, gas & water supply industry (2019)

We are all keenly aware of the electricity challenges our country is facing. Here are five key facts from Stats SA’s latest report on the industry, covering data on the nation’s energy mix, electricity production, and employment. The Electricity, gas and water supply industry report for 2019 covers the results of a large sample survey   read more »


The role of EBAs in public healthcare spending

The role of EBAs in public healthcare spending

There are a small number of healthcare institutions that fall in the extra-budgetary accounts and funds (EBAs) arm of government. You may have heard of the South African Medical Research Council and the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority in media coverage of COVID-19. A recent report by Stats SA provides pre-COVID-19 financial data for   read more »


Municipal dependence on national government financing

Municipal dependence on national government financing

What makes Stats SA’s Financial census of municipalities report so interesting is that it provides an idea of how financially dependent municipalities are on national government. The latest data show that the share of income that municipalities generate on their own has increased slightly since 2017, but there is more to this finding than meets   read more »


The peaks and troughs of municipal income

The peaks and troughs of municipal income

For many of us who are fortunate enough, things just work. Turn on a tap, and water flows. Flip a switch, and there is light. We often take for granted the extremely complex system that provides us with services every day. Local government is a vital cog in this system. South Africa’s 257 municipalities are   read more »


Municipalities: service delivery, bucket toilets and gender representation

Municipalities: service delivery, bucket toilets and gender representation

There are two sides to every coin. Service delivery in South Africa is often measured from the demand side, via household surveys and the Population Census. What you might not know about is that data also exist for the supply side, collected from those who provide services. Every year Stats SA asks municipalities to provide   read more »


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 »