Gautengers living more extravagantly

Household cash expenditure on goods and services in Gauteng at constant prices increased by more than a third between 2000 and 2003, the University of South Africa (Unisa) said on Monday.

Professor Johan Martins of Unisa's Bureau for Market Research said in a report released in Pretoria that household expenditure had escalated from R203 billion in 2000 to R277 billion in 2003.

Whites were responsible for 49% of the R277 billion in 2003 and blacks for 45%.

"Gauteng whites' direct contribution in the form of income tax to the government treasury in 2003 is estimated at R16 billion, while Africans paid R10 billion in income tax, Asians R1.1 billion and coloureds R758 million," he said.

Martins said the biggest spending increases were on holiday and weekend excursions (41% per annum), savings (27%), support of relatives (17%) and recreation, entertainment and sport (16%).

"The increases in the expenditure on these items, point to the availability of more money for discretionary spending in Gauteng," he said.

Martins noted that the fuel and light sector was the only area to experience a decrease in total cash expenditure and explained this was due to more households having access to electricity in 2003 than in 2000.

Martins revealed that blacks were responsible for more than half of Gauteng's household expenditure in dry-cleaning and laundry (86%), cash support of relatives (73%), furniture and household equipment (67%), alcoholic beverages (67%), fuel and light (66%) clothing, footwear and accessories (64%), miscellaneous items including gambling (60%), personal care (57%), food (54%), reading matter and stationery (53%), education (52%), savings (51%) and washing and cleaning materials (51%).

Similarly, said Martins, whites were responsible for spending their cash on domestic workers (74%), holiday/weekend excursions (69%), cigarettes and tobacco (68%), recreation, entertainment and sport (63%), medical and dental services (60%), housing and electricity (59%), income tax (57%), transport (55%), communication (54%) and insurance and funds (52%).

"Asians' estimated share in total household expenditure is the highest for domestic workers (8%) and holidays/weekends (7%), and coloureds' share is the highest for alcoholic beverages (5%) and miscellaneous items, which include gambling (5%)," said Martins.

According to the report, Gauteng's supermarkets, hypermarkets and chain stores were the benefactors of most of the provinces' household expenditure, with R49 billion being spent in them in 2003.

A further R5 billion was spent at wholesalers and factories, R3 billion went to hawkers and street and flea markets, R2.4 billion to spaza shops, R1.6 billion to shebeens and R276.4 million to mail orders.

"Last year Africans of Gauteng bought 15% of their food from informal businesses (R3.6 billion), particularly from hawkers (R1.6 billion) and spaza shops (R1.4 billion).

The informal sector supplied more than a quarter (29 percent) of their grain products and more than half their vegetables (54%)," he said.

Martins noted that Gauteng's women spent R1.1 billion on haircuts and beauty services in 2003.

"More than 40% of this amount was spent at informal outlets," he said.

He said churches received approximately R1 billion in contributions last year, which represents about 93% of women's expenditure on hair and beauty treatments.

"More than a third of the estimated R3.2 billion spent by households on beer was spent at shebeens," he said.