The governmental body Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) has shared more information about how and where public funds are used in the country, this time in terms of capital expenditure.

Stats SA has recently released the, “STATISTICAL RELEASE P9101 Capital expenditure by the public sector for 2019” report which you can read right here as a PDF. Official key findings can also be found on a separate page here.

Before looking at either it’s important to note what “capital expenditure” entails. This type of spending is related to the purchasing and improvement of fixed assets, especially buildings. As for the Stats SA report this is divided into the following types:

  • New construction works
  • Plant, machinery and equipment
  • Transport equipment
  • Land and existing buildings
  • Other fixed assets
  • Leased assets and investment property

For the year of this data, 2019, the total capital expenditure was R230 716 000, or R231 billion in short.

This was spent as follows according to this infographic:

While much can be said about controversial sending on places such as Eskom and Telkom, what we want to focus on is higher education, as it received the smallest amount here.

This is important, not just because of South Africa’s many education problems and the issues of learning during the pandemic, but also because of another report from Stats SA which indicated that almost half of local university revenue comes from government grants.

Back to capital expenditure, however, and 26 higher education institutions were spent on. Only the University of Pretoria, Stellenbosch University and the University of Mpumalanga are mentioned by name.

The three percent of the R231 billion is stated to be R6 632 000. Despite being the smallest sector here more than R6.6 billion is a lot of money.

For these 26 institutions the capital expenditure went towards a variety of areas. These are broken down in the table below, compared to 2018.

From this table we can see that, in 2019, the largest amount of capital expenditure in higher education went towards land and existing buildings at R2 510 000. Inversely the smallest expense was on transport equipment at R118 000.