2017/18 Submission for the Division of Revenue


Rural areas account for four-fifths of the land and are home to about two-fifths of the population in South Africa. Although poverty and economic deprivation has been reduced substantially since the advent of democracy, greater poverty is found in provinces that contain former homelands (only the Western Cape and Gauteng did not “inherit” former homeland territory). Like many other countries, South Africa does not have a government-wide, officially agreed and accepted definition of “rural”. Understanding what “rural” means is particularly important when assessing programmes aimed at stimulating rural development. This lack of a common definition may explain the plethora of rural development programmes that are found in virtually every corner of the government. Furthermore, measurement issues remain unresolved, and so the relationship between rural development, intergovernmental fiscal relations instruments and related aspects (such as land reform, food security or infrastructure) is not always clearly defined and understood. Thus, the effectiveness of spending on rural development is unclear. This section sets the context for the rest of the Submission, by looking at these issues and offering the lens through which the Commission will approach the contestable areas. It examines the socio-economic profile and characteristics of rural areas, as well as how to define rural areas, and assesses how rural regions are coping with economic change, and the weight of agriculture and agriculture spending in rural economies. It also explores the evolution of rural policy, including who is implementing policy for rural areas and whether integrated rural policies work, and presents the rural development model underlying the Commission’s recommendations.


Over the past decade, South Africa has implemented many rural development strategies focused mostly on land reform and restructuring the country’s agrarian economy, as a catalyst for poverty reduction and wider societal transformation. In recent years, conditional grants have been used to fund the flagship policy programmes. However, agriculture’s declining share (in terms of employment and gross value added) has raised concerns about the efficacy of directed public investments in agriculture for achieving growth, reducing rural poverty and creating a vibrant and inclusive rural economy. Three aspects are examined in this section. The first seeks to show that agriculture and non-agricultural linkages can play an important economic development role and, if well managed, the interactions between the two can be the basis for economically, socially and environmentally balanced regional development. The second argues that land reform is essential because for many poor rural households, land is the main source of livelihood and means for investing, accumulating and transferring wealth. Providing secure rights in land they already possess can significantly increase the net wealth of rural households. Finally the third deals with state entities and their critical developmental role in the economy, looking at what SOCs and DFIs do in rural spaces and what they need to do in order to be drivers of rural growth.


Similar to many other developing countries, South Africa is characterised by disparities across provincial jurisdictions. The distribution of poverty is highly skewed, with the rural provinces carrying the highest burden due to historical social engineering policies and weak regional economies. The higher poverty burden imposes additional demands for services and funding on rural provinces, but the funding framework for provinces is not adequately sensitive to the different developmental needs. Poverty is a manifestation of under development emanating from a range of factors including historical legacies, under-investment and structural issues. This section focuses on provinces and rural development. Limited economic activity and a narrow tax base impede the ability of rural areas to mobilise sufficient resources to finance their own development programmes, leaving them dependent on the centre for both transfers and interventions. As a result, their spending discretion (i.e. directing resources towards province-specific needs) is limited – the provincial equitable share, which accounts for 80% of revenue, is normally tied to national priorities and statutory responsibilities. Similarly, spending on the remainder of the funding from conditional transfers is restricted to specific sector and expenditure activities. The inability of the rural provinces to intervene in their spaces through the powers and functions assigned to them by the Constitution is evident from their consistent maladministration practices and fiscal management failures. Whereas such failures reflect poor fiscal choices, the lack of appropriate skills in the rural areas may also exacerbate management inadequacies and thus reinforce rural under-development.


Poor access to adequate levels and standards of basic services compound the challenges of poverty and unemployment in rural areas. Dealing with these challenges requires not only a strong national government but also a capable and capacitated local government – the sphere of government closest to the people. However, despite increased funding and interventions over the years, this has not translated into commensurate service delivery improvements in the majority of rural municipalities. Initiatives underway include the recent review of the local government equitable share formula introduced in 2013, the ongoing “Back to Basics” initiative, as well as the infrastructure grant reviews. In addition, amalgamations of municipalities are being experimented with in order to turnaround the fortunes of this sphere of government. Yet many municipalities continue to under-spend their budgets, and suffer from inefficient procurement and irregular and wasteful spending, bad management and outright corruption. For many rural municipalities, their dilemma is one of expanding expenditure requirements and shrinking fiscal space. They have limited scope for economic diversification, deficient services and infrastructure, and face declining revenue bases because of high unemployment and population losses through migration. This section looks first and foremost at whether the resources transferred to the sector are adequate and used efficiently and effectively. It then considers the extent and costs of farm displacements, and how rural local municipalities can deal with this problem and the associated costs.
Lastly, the focus turns to finding innovative ways of tapping into economic activity of rural areas, and developing new sources of municipal income while arresting the decline in existing sources.

Submission for the division of revenue2017 20182017/18 Submission for the Division of Revenue

The theme of this Submission is “The Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations System and Rural Development in South Africa”, reflecting the demographic, economic and political importance of rural areas. The aim is to provide a comprehensive review of the intergovernmental fiscal relations (IGFR) instruments, and their reform for more effective rural growth and development. Rural development is a complex process and, therefore, requires proper coordination among the institutions and departments involved.

In South Africa, rural areas account for 80% of the land and are home to 38% of the population. Rural areas lag behind the country as a whole on economic performance indicators, such as economic growth, labour force participation rates, unemployment, education attainment and life expectancy at birth. Challenges include insufficient skills and educational performance, socio-spatial inequalities, infrastructure deficits, housing backlogs, environmental issues and health disparities. The agriculture sector contributes less than 3% to South Africa’s economy, and so rural development is clearly not just about agricultural development. Addressing the challenges facing the rural poor requires more than agricultural and agrarian reforms, and must include education and health care outcomes, social and economic infrastructure, the creation of employment opportunities as well as changing the economic geography of rural areas.

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2015 Policy Brief 7Policy Brief 7 - Improving Service Delivery through eGovernment

As economies become increasingly knowledge-based, investment in information and communication technology (ICT) has come to the fore. Shifting to an eGovernment approach has the potential to improve and expand service delivery, reduce corruption and costs, and overcome the spatial divisions that persist in South Africa. Although government allocates significant public resources to ICT, the spending is neither coordinated nor strategic. Issues that need addressing include: identifying a lead government department that will be responsible for driving eGovernment, clarifying roles and responsibilities among the different roleplayers, ensuring implementation is closely aligned to policy objectives, and improving access (and ease of access) to services, e.g. through the Thusong centres. To improve government operations through the use of ICT, the Financial and Fiscal Commission recommends simplifying the ICT policy and regulatory framework, clearly delineating roles and responsibilities, identifying the lead department for eGovernment, finalising a fully costed implementation plan and making eGovernment services more attractive and accessible to citizens.

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Prof Daniel Plaatjies - Full Time Chairperson

Prof PlaatjiesProf. Daniel Plaatjies, Chairperson
 July 2017 - 30 June 2022)
Prof Daniel Plaatjies is Chairperson of the Financial and Fiscal Commission since 1 July 2017 having previously served since mid-2013 as part-time Commissioner. He specialises in public policy, public finance and governance and is an author and has edited three books: Future Inheritance: Building State Capacity in Democratic South Africa (2011 Jacana Media); Protecting the Inheritance: Governance and Public Accountability in Democratic South Africa (2013 Jacana Media); and State of the Nation: State of the Nation 2016 : Who Is in Charge? (2016 HSRC). He is a founding director of the Rosmead Institute, as well as an experienced executive civil servant, special adviser, academic and researcher in public institutions such as National Treasury, Human Sciences Research Council and the University of Witwatersrand. Plaatjies is also the former Director and Head of the Graduate School for Public and Development Management (now called Graduate School of Governance). He was a leading technocrat in the establishment of the South African Social Security Agency. Plaatjies holds a PhD (Wits), MPhil (UWC), BSocSc Honours (UCT), Diploma VI Social Science (UWC) and numerous professional certificates from international academic institutions.

Prof Aubrey Mokadi - Commissioner

blankProf. Aubrey Mokadi, Commissioner
(1 April 2018–31 March 2023)
Prof Mokadi studied at various Institutions of Higher Learning: Fort Hare University, University of the Witwatersrand, University of South Africa, Stanford University (U.S.A), University of Oxford (United Kingdom). He Lectured in the English Departments of various Universities and published widely in several accredited journals nationally & internationally in various fields and topics ranging from English Literature, Governance to Leadership. Prof Mokadi is a recipient of National and International awards of academic excellence. He is the author of several books endorsed through Forewords by eminent South African by, among others, Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate; the late Nadine Gordimer, Nobel Laureate for Literature; the late Professor Es’kia Mphahlele, renowned author, academic, scholar and social critic.Prof Mokadi was a Former: President of Vaal Civic Association, currently known as SANCO, Chair and Trustee of Vaal Career College (A Skills-based Vocational Education Institution), Chair of Vaal Broad Forum (Comprising All Community & Political Structures), Chair of (VETF) Vaal Education & Training Forum and Recipient of various Community Recognition Awards. Prof Mokadi has been the Special Advisor to the Premier of the Free State Province. As part of the Advisory Services to the Premier, he has now been asked to establish the Free State Digital Skills Academy & Incubation Hub in order to support the President’s 4th Industrial Revolution Initiative. He is Director of The South Africa Institute of Leadership (SAIL), a skills based company offering SAQA Accredited Qualifications & Leadership Programmes; Director of Jubilee Management Services, Chairperson of Leadership Enterprise Development Organisation (LEDO), an NPO; Prof Mokadi is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the O R School of Leadership, an ANC NEC initiative to train and develop all its members from MP’s MPL’s, Councillors, right down to rank ‘n file, on critical aspects of leadership and cadreship.

Mr Mandla Nkomfe - Commissioner

Mr. Mandla Nkomfe, Commissioner
(01 April 2018–31 March 2023)
Mr Mandla Nkomfe is currently working as special advisor to the Minister of Public Enterprises. He has acted in this capacity since 2014, firstly in the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), the Department of Finance and lately public enterprises. Mr Nkomfe has a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree, Postgraduate Diploma in Public and Development and Master of Management in Public and Development, all obtained from the University of Witwatersrand. He also has obtained a diploma in International and Central Banking from the University of South Africa. He was a Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Economic Affairs and Finance in 2008 and MEC for Finance up to 2014. Mr Nkomfe is a member of the board of trustees of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation.

Prof Lourens Erasmus - Commissioner

Prof Lourens Erasmus, Commissioner
(01 April 2019–31 March 2024)
Prof Erasmus holds a Doctorate degree in cost and management accounting and is based in the Department of Financial Governance at the UNISA College of Accounting Sciences. His fields of academic interest are in public sector financial governance. He is a rated researcher by the National Research Foundation. He is an affiliate member of the Chartered Institute of Government Finance, Audit and Risk Officers, chairperson of the Education and Training committee of the Southern African Institute of Government Auditors and chairperson of the UNISA College of Accounting Sciences Research Ethics Review Committee. He is also Editor-in-chief of the Southern African Journal of Accountability and Auditing Research, an Associate Editor of the South African Journal of Accounting Research and a member of the Research on Audit Committees South Africa (RACSA) group, based at UNISA.

Prof Trevor Fowler - Commissioner

Prof Trevor Fowler, Commissioner
(01 April 2019–31 March 2024)

Ms Nthabeleng Mochochoko - Commissioner

Ms Nthabeleng Mochochoko, Commissioner
(01 April 2019–31 March 2024)


“For an Equitable Sharing of National Revenue"


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