Category Archives: Government finances

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 »


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 »