December 2018

The December edition – South Africa: A brief demographic sketch – looks at South Africa’s demographic trends, highlighting among other things the attraction exerted by better-off provinces such as Gauteng and the Western Cape on migrants from within and outside South Africa.

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November 2018

The November edition – South Africa’s Quality of Life…good for some, but not all – updates the Quality of Life Index (QOLI) first developed by CRA in 2017.

The index is designed to enable users to benchmark South Africa’s progress in improving the quality of life of its citizens, and to draw comparisons between provinces and the four race groups. Major inequalities between the races and between urban and rural populations will persist in the absence of policy making geared to achieving a high economic growth environment.

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October 2018

The October edition - Provincial profiles - presents a brief summary of demographic, economic, education, health and social security, living conditions and governance, as well as crime and security indicators on South Africa’s nine provinces.

Among key patterns to emerge from the data is the continuing migration from worse-off to better-performing provinces, especially Gauteng and the Western Cape - both dominated by the country’s biggest urban centres.

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September 2018

The September edition – Economy besieged by hostile policy – looks at the state of South Africa’s economy.

This year, emerging markets will average economic growth rates of around 5%. But, largely because of counterproductive policy decisions of the government, South Africa will probably achieve only a tenth of that — rates averaging 5% were last seen more than a decade ago.

The structure of GDP continues to evolve in the direction of a tertiary-orientated and post-industrial economy. There is also relatively little life across any of the ten major sectors of the economy, a problem reflected in their combined weak contribution to employment growth. More jobs will surely be lost as the fiscal crisis forces the government into some measure of austerity.  

Policy reform is the only real ‘stimulus’ package open to the government. Otherwise, there will be little improvement in the numbers reflected in this report.

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August 2018

The August edition - South Africa’s family fabric – presents key population and household data. The number of civil marriages declined by 21.9% between 2003 and 2016, while customary marriages dropped by 77%.

Divorces declined by 19.8% — divorces between couples who have children generally outnumber those of couples with no children. The largest single proportion (39.4%) of households are nuclear — that is, with one or both parents and their children. Almost two thirds of all children live in extended households (those in which a couple and their children live with relatives).

Some 40.8% of all children live with their mother only, 34.9% with both parents, 21.3% with neither parent and just 3% with their father only.

The Fast Stats pages, with financial and other statistics, are included.

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July 2018

July Edition of Fast Facts 'South Africa’s place in the game of trade' from the Centre for Risk Analysis looks at South Africa’s trade with the world and finds that the country records deficits with most major country and regional trade partners.

China remains South Africa’s biggest merchandise country trading partner, with imports and exports valued at R318.5 billion in 2017. In Africa, Namibia is South Africa’s chief merchandise trading partner, with trade totalling R58.8 billion. The European Union (EU) is South Africa’s biggest regional trade partner, with imports and exports totalling R603.3 billion.

South Africa’s trade balance favours BRICS counterparts Brazil and China, while in the case of India the trade balance favours South Africa. In Africa, South Africa is generally at an advantage, and has trade deficits only with Angola and Nigeria. A notable feature is that while South Africa records a significant deficit with China, the opposite is true of the country’s trade figures recorded with the United States and the United Kingdom.

This Fast Facts essentially exposes a lack of domestic economic competitiveness, and much of the solution rests in policy certainty, respect for property rights, labour market reforms and better-quality schooling.

The Fast Stats pages, with financial and other statistics, are included.

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June 2018

The June edition - South Africa’s state of health - provides an overview of major healthcare trends in South Africa against the background of the proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme and amid growing concern at its implications.

Public health spending accounts for 12% of total government expenditure, up from 10.5% in 1994/95.  It also accounts for 4.1% of GDP, up from 3.1% in 1994/95. Data on private medical cover - an indicator of middle class status - shows that less than a fifth of South Africa’s population are beneficiaries of private schemes.

South Africa has more private than public hospitals - Gauteng has about four times as many private as public hospitals. A similar trend is seen in KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, the more prosperous provinces. The number of general practitioners nearly doubled between 2000 and 2016, while the number of medical specialists increased by 22%. Nurses in the private sector outnumber those in the public sector - possibly an indicator of better working conditions in private hospitals and clinics.
On public sector healthcare performance, an average performance score based on seven domains is provided for each province according to which none of the nine provinces obtained a ‘compliant’ (70% and above) score. Ultimately, a major revamp of management efficiency is necessary to bring public healthcare to a state of optimum efficiency and it is unclear that the NHI proposal is geared to achieve that.

The Fast Stats pages, with financial and other statistics, are included.

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May 2018

Death is coming to the very top of South Africa’s body politic – seeks to provide insight into political assassinations in South Africa.

KwaZulu-Natal is the epicentre of these killings, with the victims, typically at local government level, being murdered often over no more than a disagreement or the prospect of employment. Unchecked, there is a risk that such politically motivated killings will reach far more senior political figures and civil servants.

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April 2018

Education the single greatest obstacle to socio-economic advancement in South Africa – seeks to provide an overall evaluation of the quality of South Africa’s education system.

While there have been significant gains in some respects, the negatives are a threat to socio-economic advancement, and are replicating unemployment, poverty, and inequality. As a result, the majority of young people are being denied the chance of a middle class life.

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The Public Sector Wage Bill: Slaying the Dragon - March 2018

On March 16, framed in much red ink and drama, the New Age newspaper’s front-page lead read: Public sector jobs bloodbath warning.


  • The Public Sector Wage Bill: Slaying the Dragon
  • Fast Stats

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Old Mother Hubbard - February 2018

While newspapers will herald the budget as ‘good’ and ‘brave’ and ‘striking a balance’ between competing objectives at a difficult time, it is none of these things.


  • Old Mother Hubbard
  • Expenditure allocations
  • A further breakdown
  • Budgets, government and the economy
  • The tax take
  • Fast Stats

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Will ‘Ramaphosa effect’ save SA from taxing itself into prosperity? - January 2018

Th is Fast Facts provides a comprehensive picture of taxpayers and tax revenue collected.


  • National revenue
  • Individual tax
  • Corporate tax
  • Small business corporations (SBCs)
  • Value added tax
  • Other taxes and collections
  • International comparisons
  • Fast Stats

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