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Explore South African Tax Data

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Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa, University of the Free State, SARS-NT Panel

01 January 2023


uKESA Librarian 2


South Africa

Why spatial economic data?
There are serious deficiencies in the coverage and quality of spatial economic data in South Africa. This is a handicap for policymakers and government officials who lack reliable information on which to base crucial decisions. Robust data is also essential for monitoring changing economic conditions and sectoral and spatial shifts over time. A lack of reliable data is also a handbrake on research (and advocacy) about the important role of cities in economic development. The socio-spatial legacy of apartheid continues to undermine the performance of South Africa’s cities and regions. There is a serious risk that the country’s economic problems are misdiagnosed without a spatial lens.


A breakthrough mining tax records
The Human Sciences Research Council and National Treasury: City Support Programme entered into a partnership in July 2021 in order to plug this gap in the availability and accessibility of spatial economic data. This helped contribute to a key breakthrough in spatial economic data for the country: the mining of administrative tax records into a Spatial Tax Panel. This was possible through the support and close collaboration of the South African Revenue Services, UNU-WIDER (who manage a Secure Data Facility for tax data at the National Treasury) and Statistics South Africa.


A broader programme of work
These efforts have culminated in the launch of ‘Spatial Economic Activity Data: South Africa’ (SEADsa) which is a consortium of stakeholders who share a common interest in understanding the spatial economy of South Africa. The programme continues to pioneer work in this domain including administrative data mining (including adding new sources), applied research, peer-to-peer learning, data training as well as advocacy for a focus on city regions and the spatial economy.


The Spatial Tax Portal has been launched. It is a user-friendly web interface that makes it simple and easy to explore and download spatial tax data. The portal includes a number of online tools for building custom maps ('map explorer') or exploring particular themes ('dashboards') across different municipalities including economic growth, industry diagnostics, and equitable economies.


Access the speeches and presentations from the launch here


Abstract based directly on original source.


Website References

Buffalo City

Built environment

Cape Town

Cities and towns


Data analysis


Development policy







Local government

Macro economics




Nelson Mandela Bay



South Africa

Tax increment finance



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