Mitigating the effects of the ever-widening fiscal gap plaguing metropolitan municipalities in South Africa: A quest for an additional own-revenue source in the form of a Local Business Tax.
Stevens, Curtly Keagan
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The prominent role of cities in contemporary developing countries, especially in South Africa, purposively cannot be overstated. Home to 40 per cent of South Africa’s population and accounting for 63 per cent of the national gross domestic product (GDP), cities, in the words of the former Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba, ‘are at heart of the national economy.’ Yet, despite being at the epicentre of the national economy, cities in the form of metropolitan municipalities (Category A), also known as ‘self-standing municipalities', face a significant mismatch between their expenditure responsibilities and revenue sources.5 Not unique to South African cities, this mismatch, notoriously known as the ‘fiscal gap’ or ‘fiscal imbalance’, arises when own revenue sources such as, property rates, user charges, levies and other taxes available to cities, are inadequate to meet their expenditures.