While 2017 saw reduced capital expenditure by public sector institutions the latest report by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) shows that significant amounts were spent on service delivery.

The findings of the 2017 Capital Expenditure (Capex) by the Public Sector report showed that total capital expenditure by public sector institutions decreased by R12 068 million from R283 276 million in 2016 to R271 208 million in 2017.

Capex by public sector institutions has for the last five years exceeded R1.3 trillion with 2017 being the first year-on-year capex decrease, since 2009.

Public corporations biggest spenders  

The report found that new construction was the largest component of public-sector capex with public corporations being the largest spenders.

Power utility Eskom remained the main contributor to the total capital expenditure with R75.7 billion during the 2016/17 financial year, which was spent mainly on power generation projects at Kusile power plant and nationwide on new electricity distribution programmes.

Meanwhile, the South African National Roads Agency’s capital expenditure increased to R9.3 billion in 2017 from R8.5 billion in 2016. Its capital works on roads, such as the Moloto road, amounted to R6.3 billion.

Transnet spent R1.9 billion on purchases of new wagons for freight rail and R22.5 billion on equipment for various operating divisions across the country.

Plant, equipment and municipalities

Capital expenditure decreased on plant, machinery and equipment (-R8 893 million), new construction works (-R5 357 million) and transport equipment (-R1 388 million).

The country’s 257 municipalities were responsible for 23% of total public sector capital expenditure. Johannesburg accounted for 3%, while Cape Town and eThekwini accounted for 2% respectively.