State of City Finances 2020

In 2018, the last State of City Finances Report called for cities to be at the centre of development and for systemic problems to be addressed, but little has changed. Cities remain the drivers of the economy and home to most people in South Africa but continue to face challenges of inadequate finance for infrastructure and service delivery, and affordability of municipal services for consumers.


The State of City Finances Report is one of the flagship publications of the South African Cities Network (SACN). As with previous editions (in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2018), this fifth State of City Finances Report examines the finances of nine cities in South Africa: Johannesburg, Cape Town, eThekwini, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Bay, Buffalo City, Mangaung and Msunduzi. Unlike previous editions, this State of City Finances Report has no over-riding theme, but its findings confirm that the challenges facing cities remain the same.


In shining a light on how cities attempt to fund and meet their mandates, this report raises important questions about the LGFF within which cities operate and their ability to meet as yet unrealised societal goals. The report examines city financial performance over time, including the effects of Covid-19 on city finances; looks at the affordability of municipal bills; and provides an analysis of the LGES.