ANC's drubbing more profound than figures suggest
The thrashing South African voters gave the African National Congress (ANC) in the nation-wide municipal elections on 3rd August is greater than the actual statistics suggest. This, after all, is a political organisation among whose main achievements have been the creation of a welfare state, the implementation of a major programme of redistribution, the expansion of the public sector payroll, and the enforcement of more and more racial preferencing.
The figures are startling. Government expenditure as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP) has risen from 26.4% when the ANC came to power to a budgeted 32.7% this year, an increase of 24%. Over the same period the share of government spending accounted for by social security (education, health, welfare, and housing) has risen from just below 45% to almost 60% - a 33% increase.
The number of beneficiaries of social grants (the largest component of which are child support grants) has risen from 2.54 million in 1998 to 16.78 million. This is an increase of 560%. The proportion of children attending schools which do not charge fees has gone up from less than 1% in 2002 to 59% in 2014.
Government employment (including national, provincial, and local government, as well as parastatal organisations) has risen from 1.57 million when the ANC came to power to
2.03 million in 2015. This is an increase of 29% in the number of people on the public payroll.