In SA we are overwhelmed by bad news, but there is another narrative, fact-based, of the positive contribution made by both the private and the NGO sector and those who are determined to ensure that SA does not fail. With the support of Discovery, at we tell these stories, every day, in 10 different portals.

Our message – a positive, balanced and informed narrative. Our mission – fact-based belief and hope.

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Fast Facts (which we should know and protect):

  • Employment/Unemployment 1st Quarter 2024

    The first quarter saw notable employment gains across various sectors:

    • The agricultural sector added 21 046 jobs.
    • Mining and quarrying saw an increase of 8 630 jobs.
    • The manufacturing sector witnessed a substantial gain of 98 853 jobs.
    • Wholesale and retail trade, motor trade, hotels, and restaurants collectively created 108 881 jobs.
    • Jobs in the transport, storage, and communication sector increased by 38 979.
    • The private household sector saw a gain of 44 138 jobs.

    However, several sectors experienced declines in employment:

    • The financial intermediation, insurance, real estate, and business services sector shed 49 803 jobs.
    • The community and social services sector saw a significant decline of 121 959 jobs.
    • The electricity, gas, and water supply sector recorded a loss of 17 233 jobs.
    • The construction sector experienced a notable decrease of 106 394 jobs.

    NOTE: these “Official” figures are based on PAYE and UIF returns, they take no account of the +/- 8 million jobs in the Informal Sector which has an annual turnover of +/- R 1 trillion, roughly 25% of GDP. The “Official” unemployment figure of +/- 32% does not reflect actual unemployment.

  • 14/05/2024
  • Shark Tales

    In 1991 South Africa became the first country to protect the iconic great white shark, pioneering global conservation efforts. Overfishing in the 1970s and 1980s in the Atlantic had brought the great white shark population to around 27% of what it was in the early 1960s.
    Sources: one, two
  • 16/04/2024
  • Electric cars

    There are now about 26-million electric cars on the world’s roads, which means the global auto industry has made a $1-trillion commitment to carbon neutrality. This is a tiny proportion of the total cars in use, but it is a five-fold increase since 2018.
  • Emigration Stats

    Since 2000, the number of South Africans in the UK has grown from 136,720 to 247,336; Australia from 80,650 to 199,690; and the US from 65,171 to 117,321. New Zealand has almost tripled its SA emigrants, from 25,359 to 73,846 and Canada from 36,949 to 48,093.

    In 2011, 45,866 citizens returned (46.2% were male and 53.8% female), but by 2022, the returns had dropped to 27,983 (with an equal split between male and female).

    In 2022, whites accounted for 52.9% of returnees, black Africans for 37.1%, coloureds 4.9%, Indians/Asians 4.6%, and “other” for 1.9%.

  • Rights Leaderboard

    In 2023, South Africa was ranked 48th best globally, out of 142 countries, for the adherence to fundamental rights by the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index. The Scandinavian countries—Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Sweden—occupied the top four spots.
    Source: one
  • Baby Dip

    In 2024, South Africa’s birth rate stands at 18.8 births per 1,000 people, which is approximately half of the rate recorded in 1974, which was 37.5 births per 1,000 people.
    Read our Changing South African Households blog here
  • Diapers, Dummies, and Dollars!

    According to MiWayLife, first-time parents in South Africa spend an average of R100,000 per year to raise a child.
    Source: one
  • Size Matters

    The 2022 Census reveals a consistent decline in family sizes, dropping from 4.5 individuals per household in 1996 to approximately 3.5 in 2022. Gauteng households have the smallest average size at around 2.8, while KwaZulu-Natal’s are the highest at 4.4.

    Read our Changing South African Households blog here

  • Driven by India

    In 2023, 42% of passenger cars sold in South Africa were imported from India, highlighting India’s significant influence in the market. India’s presence in the South African motor industry is notably robust, particularly dominating the lower end, with 75% of car models priced under R300,000 originating from India.
    Source: one
  • Dear Mama

    While 32.7% of children in South Africa live with both parents, 21.3% don’t reside with either. What’s particularly striking is that 42% of all children are raised solely by their mothers, leaving only 4% in the care of fathers alone.
    Source: one
  • I Do… I Mean, I Will

    There is a shifting landscape in marriage demographics in South Africa, with an increasing number of brides and grooms opting to tie the knot later in life. Between 2015 and 2021, the median age for bridegrooms has ascended from 36 to 37, while brides have seen a corresponding increase from 31 to 33.
    Sources: one, two
  • Water Crisis: Dam Deficit

    According to the 2022 Census, almost half of households have faced water interruptions for two or more consecutive days. These challenges underscore the urgent need for improved water infrastructure, as highlighted at SONA. However, promises of new dams have largely gone unmet, with only one large dam built in the last 25 years, compared to 18 between 1964 and 1994.
    Sources: one, two
  • 05/02/2024
  • SA has 3 stadiums in the World Top 10

  • Homework Hurdles

    Of the more than a million children who start school every year, in 2023 only 58 out of 100 made it to matric, with 48 passing. Only 19 out of 100 will proceed to any sort of tertiary education.
    Read our Back to School blog here

    Rory O’Hagan, principal of the Chas Everitt Hyde Park and Sandton office, has highlighted South African expats are returning, especially to the nation’s economic hub.

    “A very large percentage are actually buying homes in Gauteng, and in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg in particular,” said O’Hagan.

    “We receive enquiries daily from South Africans of all ages who have been living and working abroad, sometimes for many years, but are now returning to Johannesburg to take up new corporate jobs or to establish new businesses.”

    “Most are highly skilled individuals with years of experience, which is a benefit to SA,” O’Hagan said.

    Some of the reasons for coming back include:

    • Being tired of unpleasant weather and worried about natural disasters,
    • Missing family and friends,
    • Fears about the fallout from the Ukraine and Middle East conflicts
    • The high and rising cost of living in Europe, the UK and the US, and
    • The realisation that they can purchase a much better property in SA with euros, pounds or dollars than in the adopted countries.


  • 16/01/2024

    A study commissioned by Inyathelo, the South African Institute for Advancement, has revealed a significant increase in philanthropic funding for South African universities. However, the research also exposes deep-seated disparities in funding distribution that continue to plague the higher education sector.
    South African universities saw a remarkable increase in philanthropic income in 2020, valued at R2.31 billion, nearly double 2019 funding. When Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) income is also included (funding from skills development and training organisations), the total reached R2.66 billion.
    Now in its eight edition since it was launched in 2013, the Annual Survey of Philanthropy in Higher Education (ASPIHE) provides comprehensive data and analysis on philanthropic support to South African universities.
    More donors: Some 11 244 donors contributed to 10 institutions in 2020, compared with 4 355 donors in 2013.
    Parity in giving: The proportion of income from international donors, 50%, was matched by South African sources. This suggests robust levels of civic responsibility by South Africans, says Professor Thaver.
  • SA’s Schoolin

    The proportion of South Africans over 20 years old that have completed secondary school or higher has increased from 29% in 2001 to 50% in 2022, according to the Census 2022.

    Source: one

  • AIRBnB

    In 2022, Airbnb contributed around R23.5 billion to GDP – a 115% increase and remarkable rebound – from pre-COVID levels in 2019. This translates to a total contribution of almost 50,000 jobs.
    Inclusive Tourism: Airbnb’s model makes it easier for hosts to enter the tourism market, and for travellers to find a well-located and affordable place to stay. In 2022, guest nights were up by 34% compared with 2019, with affordability being the main reason reported by guests for using Airbnb.
    64% of surveyed hosts identifying as female, compared to a global average of 55%.
    Geographic Spread: Airbnb is helping to spread the benefits of tourism. While international demand remains concentrated in the Western Cape and Gauteng, domestic tourism on Airbnb saw growth in other parts of the country. Seven of the ten fastest-growing towns on the platform are outside the Western Cape and Gauteng. This can be a boost to smaller towns: on average, Airbnb guests spend nearly R3000 a day on non-accommodation expenses, and more than half of this spending takes place in local neighbourhoods.
  • New research has revealed the countries with the largest uptake of electric vehicles, with South Africa’s increasing by 127% in the past year.

    The study, conducted by Electric Vehicle experts at DriveElectric, looked at EV sales year-on-year to determine the countries that have seen the biggest increase in electric vehicle sales.
    The full study is available here:

  • South Africa’s booming tourism industry is poised for long term success

    South Africa’s tourism industry has emerged strongly from the effects of the pandemic. Within the next 10 years, the sector is expected to contribute 800,000 jobs and R287 billion to the national economy. Furthermore, according to the Department of Tourism, the country hosted more than 2 million visitors in the first quarter of 2023 and more than 5.8 million last year. The first quarter of the year also saw foreign direct spending hit an impressive R25.3 billion, a 143% increase compared to the same period in 2022. The local tourism industry is well positioned to continue witnessing unprecedented growth and by leveraging innovative strategies, key players in the industry will be able to further augment that and help South Africa fulfil its tourism potential. With the industry expected to grow significantly within the next decade, Marc Wachsberger, Shanna Docherty and Samantha Williams share some insights on steps that need to be taken to fuel the industry, starting with e-Visas, addressing supply and demand, air travel, and technological advancements.
  • Annual study: South Africa has the best digital quality of life in Africa, while ranking 72nd globally

    Surfshark’s Digital Quality of Life Index ranks South Africa 72nd in the world in 2023, dropping by six places from last year:

    The DQL Index is an annual study that ranks 121 countries by their digital wellbeing based on 5 core pillars: internet quality, internet affordability, e-security, e-infrastructure, and e-government.

    Here are the key findings about South Africa:

    • South Africa has the best digital quality of life in Africa.
    • South Africa’s internet quality is just around the global average and ranks 63rd in the world.
    • South Africa’s fixed internet speed (70 Mbps) has improved by 30% since last year, while mobile speed (68 Mbps) has improved by 30%.
    • The internet is affordable in South Africa compared to other countries. South Africans have to work 1 hour 43 minutes a month to afford fixed broadband internet — but this is 6 times more than in Romania, which has the world’s most affordable fixed internet.
    • South Africa performed worst in the e-infrastructure pillar (94th), which would need to improve by 39% to match the best-ranking country (Sweden).

    For more information on South Africa’s performance, please see the full press release:


  • Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa

    What do 161 rugby fields and South Africa’s paper recycling have in common?

    1.3 million tonnes of paper and paper packaging kept out of SA’s landfills thanks to recycling

    JOHANNESBURG – SEPTEMBER 14, 2023 –Thanks to the waste separation efforts of conscientious citizens, businesses, schools and the greater recycling industry, South Africa recycled just less than 1.3 million tonnes of paper and paper packaging in 2022. If baled and laid out, this would cover 161 rugby fields.

    The same amount would weigh as much as 208,553 mature African elephants, or fill 1,502 Olympic -sized swimming pools. “More importantly, it saved 3.8 million cubic metres of landfill[i] space, and ensured that the paper industry could re-use the fibre in cardboard boxes, grocery bags, egg boxes, newspapers, and tissue products,” explains Samantha Choles, communications manager of the Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (PAMSA).

  • According to International Finance Corporation (IFC), South Africa’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs):

    • constitute more than 90% of all FORMAL business in the country,
    • employ 50-60% of the workforce
    • contribute 34% of GDP.

    (See previous Fast Fact for what is happening in the INFORMAL sector)


    GG. Alcock in his book ‘Kasinomics Revolution’ and the reprint of ‘Born White Zulu Bred’ has a glimpse into our informal economy (Kasi the colloquial name for a township)
    “Growth is happening in SA, we just don’t know where to look”

    These figures obviously don’t include all Kasi activities eg; building yards, hardware stores, internet services, leather workers, furniture stores etc.
    GG estimates real unemployment (people with no source of income) to be 15%

  • Empowerment by Degrees

    According to the Labour Force Survey, available through Eighty20’s Data Portal, the level of education achieved by South African women has improved remarkably over the past decade. More specifically, the number of women with a tertiary education has increased by 62% from 2013 to 2023.
    Analyse this data yourself on the Eighty20 Data Portal
  • Rhino Slaughter

    So far this year, 231 rhinos have been killed for their horns in South Africa, a decline of 28 animals (11%), compared with last year’s statistics. This left Forestry, Fisheries and Environment Minister Barbara Creecy feeling optimistic.

    Figures show that poaching has continued its trend of moving away from Kruger National Park to provincial and private reserves in KwaZulu-Natal.

    The other measures being taken to combat poaching include dehorning, erecting and repairing a fence around the Hluhluwe/iMfolozi Park in KwaZulu-Natal and providing a designated prosecutor to facilitate rhino cases in that province. foot note: This is ‘good news’ but just to point out the decline in population in the Kruger from 10 000 animals to 1500 needs to be taken into account. I was in Kruger of five days last week, not a Rhino to be seen.


    Annually, Reporters without Borders ranks 180 countries on Press freedom as ranked by Journalists worldwide

    The table below gives the positions of South Africa, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Hong Kong, USA, and China in terms of their positioning on the World Press Freedom Index










    We invite you to place the countries in the box that reflects their global ranking.

    The answers using Roman Numerals: United Kingdom (XXVI), Hong Kong (CXXXX), Australia (XXVII), South Africa (XXV), USA (XXXXV), China (CLXXIX), Canada (XV)

  • Countries with the highest number of US$ millionaires leaving

    As it has for the past decade, China continues to lose the largest numbers of dollar millionaires each year to migration.

    Net exit number 2023;

    1st China 13 500; 2nd India 6500; 3rd UK 3200; 4th Russia 3000; 5th Brazil 1200; 6th Hong Kong 1000; 7th South Korea 800; 8th Mexico 700; 9th South Africa 500; 10th Japan 300

    Source Henley Private Wealth Migration Report 2023,

  • Economist Global Measures – Interesting comparisons
    Annually the Economist publishes ‘Pocket World in Figures’ ranking 188 countries on a range of measures; some surprising; some unusual; some depressing; some amusing!
    Here are four comparisons of Global Positionings that may surprise you

  • Economist Global Measures – Interesting comparisons
    Annually the Economist publishes ‘Pocket World in Figures’ ranking 188 countries on a range of measures; some surprising; some unusual; some depressing; some amusing!
    Here are four comparisons of Global Positionings that may surprise you

  • Economist Global Measures
    (Guess the Answers!)
    Week 22 May (Tourism)
    Annually the Economist publishes ‘Pocket World in Figures’ ranking 188 countries on a range of measures; some surprising; some unusual; some depressing; some amusing!
    Here are four questions with three possible answers, comparing SA to 188 countries.
    1. SA’s tourist arrivals are ranked a) 18th ; b) 28th; c) 38th largest globally;
    2. SA’s tourism growth is predicted at a) 2.6%  ; b) 4.6% ; c) 7.6% annually for the next 10 years;
    3. SA’s tourism receipts are ranked a) 5th ; b) 10th ; c) 15th largest in Africa;
    4. Pre-COVID how many people visited SA annually a) 10m; b) 12.5m ; c) 17m?
    Answers: 1) c); 2) c); 3) a); 4) c)😊
  • Economist Global Measures
    (Guess the Answers!)
    Week 15 May (Leisure)
    Annually the Economist publishes ‘Pocket World in Figures’ ranking 188 countries on a range of measures; some surprising; some unusual; some depressing; some amusing!
    Here are four questions with three possible answers, comparing SA to 188 countries.
    1. SA’s Cinema attendance in total visits is ranked a) 10th ; b) 25th; c) 45th globally;
    2. SA’s beer consumption, litres per person is ranked a) 1st  ; b) 20th ; c) 30th globally
    3. SA’s tobacco use is ranked a) 5th ; b) 12th ; c) 20th globally
    4. SA’s Cannabis use is a) 15%; b) 7.5% ; c) 3.5% of the population
    Answers: 1) b); 2) c); 3) c); 4) c) 😊
  • Economist Global Measures
    (Guess the Answers!)
    Week 8 May (Social measures)
    Annually the Economist publishes ‘Pocket World in Figures’ ranking 188 countries on a range of measures; some surprising; some unusual; some depressing; some amusing!
    Here are four questions with three possible answers, comparing SA to 188 countries.
    1. SA’s ‘Media Freedom’ is ranked a) 25th ‘Freest; b) 45th Freest; c) 85th Freest globally
    2. SA’s divorce rate is a) 17% ; b) 27%; c) 47% of the married population
    3. SA’s Prison population is the a) 6th largest; b) 12th largest; c) 18th largest globally
    4. SA’s urban population living in shanty towns is ranked a) 24th highest; b) 54th highest; c) 74th highest globally
    Answers: 1) a); 2) a); 3) b); 4) c) 😊

  • Economist Global Measures
    (Guess the Answers!)
    Week 1 May (Commodities)
    Annually the Economist publishes ‘Pocket World in Figures’ ranking 188 countries on a range of measures; some surprising; some unusual; some depressing; some amusing!
    Here are four questions with three possible answers, comparing SA to 188 countries.
    1. SA’s production of Orange Juice is ranked) 5th  largest; b) 15th largest c) 25th largest globally
    2. SA’s production of Gold is ranked) 5th largest; b) 10th largest; c) 15th largest globally
    3. SA’s production of Platinum is ranked a) 1st largest; b) 5th largest c) 15th largest globally
    4. SA’s production of Coal is ranked a) 7th largest b) 12th largest c) 17th largest globally
    Answers: 1) a); 2) b); 3) a); 4) a) 😊

  • Economist Global Measures
    (Guess the Answers!)

    Week 24 April (Economic measures)

    Annually the Economist publishes ‘Pocket World in Figures’ ranking 188 countries on a range of measures; some surprising; some unusual; some depressing; some amusing!
    Here are four questions with three possible answers, comparing SA to 188 countries.
    1. SA’s economic growth is ranked a) 125th  lowest; b) 145th lowest c) 185th lowest 2009-2019 globally
    2. SA’s debt to GDP ratio at 70% is a) 18th largest; b) 28th largest; c) 48th largest globally
    3. SA’s Gold Reserves in US$ rank a) 15th largest; b) 25th largest c) 35th largest globally
    4. SA’s Big Mac Index representing over/under value of the Rand currency against US$ at a) -24%; b) -34%; c) -54%
    Answers: 1) b); 2) c); 3) c); 4) c) 😊

  • Economist Global Measures
    (Guess the Answers!)

    Week 17 April (Economic measures)

    Annually the Economist publishes ‘Pocket World in Figures’ ranking 188 countries on a range of measures; some surprising; some unusual; some depressing; some amusing!
    Here are four questions with three possible answers, comparing SA to 188 countries.
    1. SA’s economy, as measured by GDP is the a) 38th largest; b) 56th largest c) 108th  largest globally
    2. SA’s economy, as measured by PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) is the a) 23rd largest; b) 33rd largest; c) 53rd largest globally
    3. SA’s GDP per Capita is a) US$ 2055; b) US$ 5055; c) US$ 7055 per capita
    4. SA’s Corporate Tax rate is a) 12th; b) 26th; c) 45th highest as a %


    Answers: 1) a); 2) b); 3) c); 4) c) 😊

  • Economist Global Measures
    Annually the Economist publishes ‘Pocket World in Figures’ ranking 188 countries on a range of measures; some surprising; some unusual; some depressing; some amusing! As Hans Rosling in his book “Factfullness” reminds us; what we often assume to be correct we often get very wrong! “Forming your worldview by relying on the media would be like forming your view about me by looking only at a picture of my foot.” 
    In this series I will ask four questions with three possible answers, comparing SA to 188 countries.
    1. Geographically SA is the a) 24th largest; b) 36th largest c) 69th largest globally
    2. SA’s population is the a) 12th largest; b) 24th largest; c) 48th largest globally
    3. SA’s population growth is a) 10th fastest; b) 40th fastest; c) 60th fastest globally
    4. SA’s population grew 2022/2021 by a) 2.24%; b) 1.28%; c) 0.88%

    Answers: 1) a); 2) b); 3) c); 4) c) 😊
  • Safer Travels

    In 2022, the number of road fatalities over the Easter period in South Africa decreased by 31% YoY to 162. While most provinces recorded a decline in fatalities, the Western Cape and Mpumalanga recorded increases of 31% and 28% respectively.

  • Income from tourism accommodation rose by 55,8% y/y in January after a 60,5% gain in 2022 to R22bn.
  • SA’s support for the very poor is well-developed compared to many countries in our middle-income category. Actually that is a massive understatement. The support net has increased from around three million beneficiaries in 1995 to about 18 million now who currently receive state welfare grants, while a further 11 million get the state’s Covid-19 grant, now transformed into a general social relief grant. That is nearly half the population of the country.

    SA spends about R200-billion a year on the social grant system, and a further R44-billion on the social relief grant, which is at the moment around R350 a month.

  • Estimated Tax Freedom Day (TFD) – the day after the country has earned enough money to pay for government – will be on May 14 this year. That is 2 days later than last year’s prediction.

    The prediction is based on the intended level of tax collection for central government mentioned in the Budget Speech. Typically, the actual figure – which is the general government revenue as a percentage of GDP from the Reserve Bank Quarterly – turns out to be 30% more than the intended figure for central government.

  • South Africa has approximately 5.59 million people over the age of 60, about 9% of the population.

    It is estimated that this will grow to 17.5% by 2050 due to decreasing fertility rates and increasing longevity. Just under half have high blood pressure, 16% have diabetes and 14% have arthritis.
  • Coalition government in SA

    There 24 coalition governments around the country (which the DA is part of). Most of these are functional, stable, and delivering to residents. They easily outperform the average ANC-led municipality.
    Two key factors driving their stability and success are size and core values. Coalitions work best when there are just two or three parties involved, and when those parties share the same core values, even if they differ markedly on other issues.
  • Less disastrous disasters

    Despite the significant increase in the number of global natural disasters over the past 30 years, the number of deaths has decreased from an annual average of 61,086 deaths between 1991-2020, to 14,442 in 2021.

    Source: one

  • February 21, 2023 Fact: #3410 SONA 2023
    During the 2023 State of the Nation Address, the President announced that 163 out of the 257 South African municipalities are dysfunctional or in distress due to inadequate governance. For the year ending June 2021, only 41 municipalities received clean audits, which was an increase from 33 the previous year.

    Sources: one, two

  • ‘Official’ Unemployment

    The ‘Official’ (my emphasis) unemployment rate dipped slightly to 32.7%, from 32.9%, which should be relatively encouraging if you were to leave it at that. But of the 169,000 jobs created in the last quarter of 2022, the DA was quick to point out that 167,000 were in the Western Cape. (I remind readers the ‘official’ unemployment rate does not take account of what is happening in the informal sector which some commentators say employs 10 000 000 people)

  • South Africa’s new vehicle market shows resilience in the face of economic constraints

    Johannesburg, 1 March 2023: Despite odds seemingly skewed against the South African consumer, new vehicle sales continued improvement in performance month after month, and again in February. Total vehicle sales of 45 352 units were 2.6% better than the figure for the same month a year ago. Year-to-date sales are up 4.3% which is encouraging.

  • NADA Comment: South Africa’s new vehicle sales start on a positive note in 2023
    “The strong headwinds of loadshedding, inflation, political instability, rising interest rates and fuel prices did not put a dampener on new vehicle sales in January and total sales of 43 509 units showed an encouraging improvement of 4.8% on the figure for January 2022,” commented Mark Dommisse, Chairperson of the National Automobile Dealers’ Association (NADA), after studying the latest sales figures distributed by NAAMSA
  • Of the ~70,000 visits to the famous Table Mountain Aerial Cableway during the festive season, ~34,000 (48%) came from people who live more than 1,000 km away.
  • Popular car rental company, Europcar, situated at Cape Town International Airport saw a 46% YoY increase in local visitors and an increase of over 1,000% in international visitors for December 2022.
It is my intention this year, with the support of Discovery, to publish articles written by young journalists (with some coaching) so that they may build up a credible portfolio. Enjoy the read!