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JUNE 2023



EThekwini Municipality, known for its vibrant economy and diverse demographic tapestry, is on the brink of a new era in economic planning. This change is being driven by an innovative programme known as Spatial Economic Activity Data: South Africa (SEAD-SA), a government initiative that uses tax data to uncover the economic potential of South African cities.


The SEAD-SA programme, initiated with the support of various national institutions including the National Treasury, Human Sciences Research Council and the South African Revenue Service (SARS), is a ground-breaking tool that is already reshaping the way cities think about their local economies.


At its core, the programme is about leveraging local tax data to shed light on the city's economic performance. It focuses on formal sector data, suburb-level details, and place of work information to give a more granular view of the city's economy than national statistics can provide. This offers a unique opportunity to identify economic strengths and weaknesses at a local level, and to make data-driven decisions that can stimulate economic growth and enhance social equity.


SARS, traditionally focused on the collection of tax, has recognized the immense value that their data can provide for wider economic policy. They are deeply involved in the SEAD-SA initiative, ensuring that taxpayer information is utilized in a manner that respects privacy and confidentiality while still producing insightful spatial economic indicators.


The SEAD-SA programme has brought a wealth of exciting developments to eThekwini. One of the most impactful has been the ability to focus on township economic development and spatial transformation. By using tax data, the municipality has been able to identify specific areas of growth and opportunity, as well as areas that need more focused support and investment.


The tax data has also paved the way for the integration of a range of administrative datasets, such as information about the rates base, into local economic planning. Thisholistic approach to data integration has allowed for more effective and targeted policy-making.

The SEAD-SA programme has ushered in a new era of economic planning – one that is more informed, more responsive, and more capable of addressing the unique challenges that cities like eThekwini face.


Tune into the upcoming SAfm interview on Monday the 3rd July at 8.30am, where key stakeholders involved in the SEAD-SA initiative will delve deeper into this exciting new realm of local economic planning. Panellists for the radio interview include: Dr Justin Visagie, Senior Research Specialist, Human Sciences Research Council, Ms Karen Harrison, Economic Development Lead, Cities Support Programme, National Treasury, Mr Justice Matarutse, Innovation Programme Manager, eThekwini metro and Mr Isaac Tau, Area Head: Data Analytics, South African Revenue Service. Discover the potential of your community/ ward /suburb and be a part of the conversation shaping the future of South Africa.

Remember, this data is not just for policy makers. It is available for everyone to explore on our Spatial Data Explorer and SEAD SA Portal.

For more info on spatial data contact Justice Matarutse: Innovation Manager on Justice.Matarutse@durban.gov.za

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