Category Archives: Government finances

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 »


Government finances: surplus, deficit and debt

Government finances: surplus, deficit and debt

Believe it or not, there was a time – not so long ago – when the South African government actually spent less than it earned. Stats SA takes a look at government spending over 13 years, focusing on how much we pay to service our debt. Harking back to better times in February’s National Budget   read more »


Manufacturing: winners and losers of 2018

Manufacturing: winners and losers of 2018

The manufacturing industry rebounded in 2018, recording its highest annual growth rate in five years. The food and beverages and automotive divisions were the major drivers behind the rise. However, manufacturers in communication equipment, electrical machinery and clothing failed to perform. Manufacturing production increased by 1,2% in 2018 compared with 2017, according to Stats SA’s   read more »


General government spending slows in 2016/17

General government spending slows in 2016/17

Indicative of an economy under strain, expenditure by general government increased by just 4,7% from 2015/16 to 2016/17. This is the lowest annual rise in spending on record since 2005/06, when Stats SA started publishing the current series of its Financial statistics of consolidated general government report. The latest financial data provide an updated picture   read more »


Who is most likely to be affected by long-term unemployment?

Who is most likely to be affected by long-term unemployment?

South Africa’s official unemployment rate is on the increase. In the past 10 years (2008–2018), the unemployment rate has increased from 21,5% to almost 28,0%. Unemployment refers to those persons who were not employed, had taken steps to look for a job or to start a business and were available to take up a job   read more »


Higher education continues to cut capital spending

Higher education continues to cut capital spending

Capital expenditure by South Africa’s higher education institutions continued to fall, for the second consecutive year. The country’s 20 universities and 6 universities of technology recorded a 5,4% drop in capital expenditure in 2017 compared with 2016, falling from R6,22 billion to R5,89 billion. This followed a 0,7% drop in 2016, according to Stats SA’s recent Financial   read more »