Category Archives: Government finances

Business turnover and expenditure decline for the first time in a decade

Business turnover and expenditure decline for the first time in a decade

Marked by COVID-19, the 2020–2021 period was incredibly challenging for the South African economy. Data from Stats SA’s latest Annual financial statistics (AFS) survey, which includes the first three months of the hard lockdown, shows a decline in formal business turnover and expenditure. The AFS reference period typically entails a lag effect: the survey reference   read more »


South African GDP grows by 1,6%

South African GDP grows by 1,6%

After contracting by 0,7% in the second quarter of 2022, the economy rallied in the third quarter, expanding by 1,6%.1 The agriculture, finance, transport and manufacturing industries were the main drivers of growth on the supply side of the economy. The demand side of the economy was lifted by a rise in exports and government   read more »


Government spending breaches R2 trillion

Government spending breaches R2 trillion

South African government spending broke the R2 trillion mark in the 2020/21 financial year. Large increases in expenditure were recorded for social protection, health, and general public services as the country battled the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, total revenue declined on the back of lower taxes received. The Financial statistics of consolidated general government   read more »


The public-sector: Shy on infrastructure investment

The public-sector: Shy on infrastructure investment

Data from 745 institutions provides an update on public-sector investment in infrastructure. A number of institutions pulled back on capital expenditure in 2021, while others increased their spending. Public-sector capital expenditure decreased by R6,1 billion (-3,0%) between 2020 and 2021, from R204,3 billion to R198,2 billion, representing the fifth consecutive year of decline. Capital expenditure represents money spent   read more »


Provincial government finances: the impact of COVID-19

Provincial government finances: the impact of COVID-19

South Africa’s 122 provincial government departments spent R613,6 billion in 2020/21, according to the latest Financial statistics of provincial government statistical release. This is R16,9 billion more than the R596,8 billion recorded in 2019/20, representing a rise of 2,8%.1 The 2,8% rise is muted compared with the previous three years that recorded increases of around 7,0%. A closer   read more »


South African GDP declines by 0,7%

South African GDP declines by 0,7%

After two consecutive quarters of positive growth, real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased by 0,7%1 in the second quarter of 2022 (Q2: 2022). The devastating floods in KwaZulu-Natal and load shedding contributed to the decline, weakening an already fragile national economy that had just recovered to pre-pandemic levels. Manufacturing the biggest drag on GDP The flooding   read more »


Government finances: Social spending jumped in 2020/21

Government finances: Social spending jumped in 2020/21

The 254 institutions known as extra-budgetary accounts and funds (EBAs) form an important arm of government. Financial data for 2020/21 (1 April to 31 March) show a sharp rise in EBA spending as government rushed to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. Much of the increase was on social benefits, mainly for the COVID-19 Temporary   read more »


Economic recovery from COVID-19: Not all countries are equal

Economic recovery from COVID-19: Not all countries are equal

The South African economy took almost two years to recover from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. How does this compare with other countries? After plummeting in the second quarter of 2020 – when lockdown restrictions were at their most stringent – South African gross domestic product (GDP) clawed itself back to pre-pandemic levels in   read more »


Municipal finances and electricity: 11 years in perspective

Municipal finances and electricity: 11 years in perspective

Rising prices are hitting consumers hard, and the cost of electricity is no different. Municipalities play a significant role in the distribution of electricity in South Africa. Acting mostly as intermediaries, municipalities buy electricity from Eskom and then resell it to businesses, homes and other institutions. Eskom tariffs and purchases and sales of electricity A   read more »


After two years, GDP returns to pre-pandemic levels

After two years, GDP returns to pre-pandemic levels

South African gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 1,9% in the first quarter of 2022, representing a second consecutive quarter of upward growth.1 The size of the economy is now at pre-pandemic levels, with real GDP slightly higher than what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic. This release covers the first quarter of the year   read more »