Fiscal incidence of social spending in South Africa, 2006


The objectives of the present study were to investigate expenditure incidence in education, tertiary education, health, social assistance, housing, water provision and electricity, and in particular to assess shifts in such incidence between 2000 and 2006. In addition, the study set out to compare the results of the previous incidence analyses with the new results, where data comparability permits. Unlike on the previous two occasions, there was not a tax incidence module attached to the expenditure incidence analysis. Thus
the study was not constrained to apply to the same year as the Income and Expenditure Survey of 2005; rather, to incorporate the most recent data, the emphasis fell on 2006 as the end year.

The strong growth of the South African economy and of government revenue had allowed the government to expand social spending quite rapidly. The social spending items covered in this study increased from about R2 000 per person in 2000 to almost
R2 800 in 2006, i.e. by 40% per capita (in constant 2000 Rand values). Social grants spending more than doubled in this short period. As social grants were the best targeted of all government social spending programmes, overall targeting of spending therefore
also improved. Thus, as will be illustrated, the poorest 40% of the population increased their share of spending from 47.1% to 50.1%, which allowed spending per person for the poorest 40% to increase by more than R1 200 per year, an increment almost three times
as large as for the richest 20% of the population.


Evaluation Number:
Report Approval:
Saturday, 28 February 2009
Sunday, 13 January 2013
Initiated By:
National Treasury
Undertaken By:
Servaas van der Berg
Evaluation Period:
2000 - 2006
Evaluation Area:
Social development, social security & assistance
Public finance, financial management
National Outcome:
National Outcome 5: A skilled and capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path.
National Outcome 12: An efficient, effective and development oriented public service and an empowered, fair and inclusive citizenship.
Commissioned By:
Evaluation Type:
Evaluation Subject:
Geographic Scope:

Evaluation Documents

File Name
63 EQAT 20130319 mj_mb.pdf
Report on fiscal incidence of social spending 2006.pdf 63.pdf

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