Category Archives: Economy Data Stories

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 »


Electricity infrastructure dominates capital spending

Electricity infrastructure dominates capital spending

Recent data released by Stats SA show that public-sector capital expenditure has risen over the last five years, from a total of R203 billion in 2012 to R284 billion in 2016; an average rise of 8,7% per year. Over R1,2 trillion was spent during this five-year period. Well-maintained infrastructure facilitates trade, improves connectivity, attracts investment,   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 »


Tighter profits in the formal business sector

Tighter profits in the formal business sector

The formal business sector, excluding agriculture and banking, generated R2,34 trillion in income during the first quarter of 2017, for the months of January, February and March. On average, that’s R300 560 of income generated every second over that 90-day period. You might be thinking that’s quite a hefty amount. You might catch yourself imagining the   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 »


The South African economy shrinks by 0,7%

The South African economy shrinks by 0,7%

The South African economy moved into recession with the reported decrease of 0,7% in GDP during the first quarter of 2017, following a 0,3% contraction in the fourth quarter of 2016. Using the widely accepted measure of ‘recession’ as two (or more) consecutive quarters of negative growth (real GDP quarter-on-quarter), this means that South Africa   read more »


How do we know if the latest GDP estimate was disappointing?

How do we know if the latest GDP estimate was disappointing?

Stats SA publishes estimates of GDP every quarter. It is one of the most anticipated statistical releases on the calendar as it captures the dynamics of the economy in a single number. The key number is expressed as the seasonally adjusted annualised growth between two consecutive quarters, based on GDP in real terms (i.e. volume)1.   read more »


Three facts about the ICT sector

Three facts about the ICT sector

It might be surprising to learn that the ICT sector is larger than the agriculture industry. This is one of the findings from Stats SA’s latest Information and communication technology satellite account for South Africa report. The document covers ICT’s contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP), its role in imports and exports, and its   read more »


Your job, your economy, your province

Your job, your economy, your province

Kathu has a story to tell. Located in the rural expanse of the Northern Cape, this small town owes its existence almost entirely to iron ore. The streets, the businesses that line them, and the eleven thousand people that call Kathu home, all draw their economic lifeblood from Sishen, one of the largest open-pit mines   read more »


Mining: a brief history

Mining: a brief history

The 1970s are best remembered for disco, bell-bottoms, and the mesmerising lava lamp. It was also the decade that saw South African mining forge ahead in its influence on the economy and employment. How has the economy in general, and mining in particular, shifted since then? Mining’s contribution to total economic production climbed in the   read more »