How much of every R100 spent by government goes to Eskom, social grants and universities

 ·7 Jul 2023

Stats SA has published a breakdown of the national government’s spending, indicating which sectors of society benefited the most from the R1.9 trillion spent by the state in 2021/2022.

According to the stats group, one of the most important tasks of the national government is to redistribute funds, mainly received from taxes, to other sectors of the economy.

“These transfers serve a financial lifeline to diverse groups which includes households, public corporations, local and international organisations, and other levels of government,” it said.

On the revenue side, national government generated R1,605 billion in the 2021/22 fiscal year (1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022).

The bulk (97.4%) of revenue was from taxes.

On the expenditure side, the national government spent R1,935 billion over the same period.

Almost R72 of every R100 of national government spending was in the form of financial transfers to households, public corporations, organisations and other levels of government.

“Financial transfers (which include grants, subsidies and other transfers) keeps the engine of government going. They also provide support for households and assist in funding operating costs of public corporations,” Stats SA said.

Breaking down the data even further, the figures show that the provincial government is the main beneficiary of these transfers, receiving nearly half of the financial transfers in 2021/22.

“This is not surprising, given that provincial government is primarily responsible for administrating the country’s massive public education and healthcare systems,” Stats SA said.

Provinces that received the most were Gauteng (R141 billion) and KwaZulu-Natal (R135 billion).

However, the second largest beneficiary of the state’s financial transfers is for social benefits, mainly made up of social grants.

These benefits account for 16.7% of the transfers (R231 billion), or 12% of total expenditure. For every R100 the state spends, R12 goes to these social benefits, according to the data.

Other transfers

Extra-budgetary accounts and funds – public entities that are involved in delivering services to the government or the public on behalf of the government – were allocated R147 billion.

National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is at the top of the list, with R40 billion received from national government in 2021/22.

South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) was next in line, receiving R22 billion.

Higher education institutions received R43 billion in total, with the largest amounts allocated to the University of South Africa (R5 billion) and the University of Pretoria (R3 billion).

Public corporations and private enterprises accounted for R102 billion – R5 out of every R100 spent. The following State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) received equity injections to settle government-guaranteed debt:

  • Eskom (R32 billion);
  • South African Airways (R4 billion);
  • Denel (R3 billion).

Eskom received R1.65 for every R100 spent by the government in 2021/2022.

South African Special Risk Insurance Association (SASRIA) received R22 billion to cover claims arising from the civil unrest that crippled parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal in July 2021.

Foreign governments and international institutions benefited too, receiving R55 billion in 2021/22. Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) was the biggest beneficiary, receiving the bulk (R45 billion) of this allocation.

This organisation promotes free trade and economic development across the southern African region. As members, South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Eswatini contribute financially to the union.

The table below outlines how the money was split:

ItemSpent R100
Total expenditureR1 935 billionR100
Capital ExpenditureR15 billionR0.80
Goods and ServicesR87 billionR4.50
Employee CompensationR182 billionR9.40
Interest paid on DebtR268 billionR13.90
v Financial Transfers R1 383 billionR71.50
> Provincial GovernmentR661 billionR34.20
> Social Benefits (Grants, etc)R231 billionR11.90
> Extra-budgetary accountsR147 billionR7.60
> MunicipalitiesR136 billionR7.00
> Public accounts (Eskom, etc)R102 billionR5.30
> International InstitutionsR55 billionR2.80
> Higher EducationR43 billionR2.20
> OtherR8 billionR0.50

Read: Eskom is shooting itself in the foot

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