The Mahikeng town museum. Mahikeng is one of 28 municipalities that earn more than 89% of its own income.
  • A new Statistics SA report shows that 28 municipalities – a quarter of them in the North West – generate more than 89% of their own income.
  • But 25 municipalities in the Eastern Cape and Free State depend on national government for more than 83% of their income.
  • On average, 28% of South African municipal income comes from national government 


Some 28 municipalities – a quarter of them in the North West – generate more than 89% of their own income, judging from a new survey by Statistics South Africa.

StatsSA has analysed the income of municipalities across the country as part of its Quarterly Financial Statistics of Municipalities survey

A municipality can generate its own income via property taxes, service charges, and fines – as well as levies on water, electricity, sanitation and refuse removal. Municipalities also sometimes charge users for the use of their facilities, such as sports grounds.

The latest data, compiled at the end of December 2018, show that more than on average 28% of municipal income is from national government, via grants and subsidies.

Source: Statistics SA

But the reliance on national government differs a lot depending on where you are in South Africa.

See also: Gauteng metros lost R5 billion in electricity last year – but Ekurhuleni is doing a lot better than Joburg and Tshwane

The Statistics SA survey shows that there are 28 municipalities that only rely on national government grants for up to 10.6% of their total income. Seven of these municipalities are in the North West, while the Free State has six. 

municipalities
Blue indicates that up to 10.6% of total income comes from grants, followed by green (10.7% to 32.3%), yellow (32.4% - 56.8%), light orange (56.9% - 82.4%) and dark orange (above 82.5%). Source: Statistics SA

These are the municipalities that are most the financially independent from national government:

North West

Mahikeng

Ramotshere Moiloa

Lekwa-Teemane

Mamusa

Tswaing

Kgetlengrivier

Rustenburg

Free State

Mohokare

Mantsopa

Masilonyana

Tswelopele

Moqhaka

Phumelela

Eastern Cape

Amahlathi

Enoch Mgijima

Sakhisizwe

Ntabankulu

Northern Cape

Hantam

Renosterberg

Gamagara

Limpopo

Lephalale

Greater Giyani

Makhuduthamaga 

Western Cape

Theewaterskloof

George

KwaZulu-Natal

Mpofana

Nkandla

Gauteng 

Ekurhuleni

While the City of Ekurhuleni is the only large city that earned more than 89% of its own income, on average, South Africa's big metropolitan councils generate 83% of their income themselves. 

Most dependent municipalities

Some 32 municipalities – 25 of which are in the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga – are almost totally dependent on funding transfers from national government. More than 82.5% of their income is from national government grants and subsidies.

Examples include Engcobo in the Eastern Cape, which sources 95% of its income from grants and subsidies, and Kagisano-Molopo in North West, which depends on grants and subsidies to supplement 86% of its budget, Statistics SA says.

"This is despite the fact that municipalities are required by legislation to collect their own income. This, however, is not possible in many cases due to various factors, such as the poor income base of that constituency and non-payment of services by residents."

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