South Africa's budget deficit for this year is R370 billion.
(That's the difference between the money government receives in taxes and the amount government spends by borrowing.)
This triggered a thought as to what we could have spent that money on as a nation, and as I started by taking a look at companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
The useful thing about listed companies is that it's very easy to get a universally accepted sense of what they are worth. It's called Market Capitalisation, or just Market Cap for short. Take the number of shares a company has issued, multiply it by the price of one share, and boom.
So here are the top 50 companies in South Africa, courtesy of Sharenet:
|Name||Full Name||Market Capital|
|2||BATS||BRITISH AM. TOBACCO PLC||1,526,825,899,496|
|3||ABINBEV||Anheuser-Busch InBev SA NV||1,476,456,362,767|
|5||BILLITON||BHP GROUP PLC||596,744,765,241|
|6||GLENCORE||GLENCORE XSTRATA PLC||558,651,462,527|
|7||RICHEMONT||COMPAGNIE FIN RICHEMONT||543,454,200,000|
|8||ANGLO||ANGLO AMERICAN PLC||510,937,425,618|
|10||ANGLOPLAT||ANGLO AMERICAN PLATINUM CORPORATION LIMITED||301,401,869,431|
|11||STANBANK||STANDARD BANK GROUP LIMITED||246,940,917,688|
|12||VODACOM||VODACOM GROUP LIMITED||212,941,976,826|
|15||MONDIPLCP||MONDI PLC PRE||156,037,562,740|
|16||MTN||MTN GROUP LIMITED||146,162,805,128|
|17||ANGGOLD||ANGLOGOLD ASHANTI LIMITED||132,184,054,369|
|18||OLDMUTUAL||OLD MUTUAL PLC||124,638,459,519|
|19||SIBANYE||SIBANYE GOLD LIMITED||118,362,396,741|
|21||ABSAG||ABSA GROUP LIMITED||114,454,819,171|
|23||IMPLATS||IMPALA PLATINUM HOLDINGS LIMITED||105,927,956,867|
|24||RMBH||RMB HOLDINGS LIMITED||102,164,961,886|
|25||BIDCORP||BID Corporation Ltd||99,450,702,900|
|26||KUMBAIO||Kumba Iron Ore Ltd||97,688,675,914|
|27||SIBANYE-S||SIBANYE STILLWATER LTD||92,849,592,240|
|28||GFIELDS||GOLD FIELDS LIMITED||92,573,352,686|
|30||NEDCOR||NEDBANK GROUP LTD||85,935,585,839|
|31||OMUTUAL||OLD MUTUAL LIMITED||78,020,733,963|
|32||SHOPRIT||SHOPRITE HOLDINGS LIMITED||73,456,068,718|
|33||NEPIROCK||NEPI ROCKCASTLE PLC||72,773,394,397|
|34||DISCOVERY||DISCOVERY HOLDINGS LIMITED||67,553,795,328|
|35||CLICKS||CLICKS GROUP LTD||65,278,260,151|
|36||BIDVEST||THE BIDVEST GROUP LIMITED||63,580,261,550|
|37||REINET||REINET INVESTMENTS SCA||62,997,082,861|
|38||NORTHAM||NORTHAM PLATINUM LIMITED||60,077,715,834|
|40||GROWPNT||GROWTHPOINT PROPERTIES LIMITED||55,734,833,284|
|41||PEPKOR||PEPKOR HOLDINGS LIMITED||55,108,043,919|
|43||MEDCLIN||Mediclinic Int plc||52,690,815,100|
|44||ASPEN||Aspen Pharmacare Hldgs||49,661,927,660|
|45||PSG||PSG GROUP LIMITED||45,808,131,646|
|46||MCGROUP||MULTICHOICE GROUP LTD||42,574,144,750|
|47||EXXARO||EXXARO RESOURCES LIMITED||42,359,680,579|
|48||MRPRICE||MR PRICE GROUP LIMITED||39,996,315,121|
|49||RMIH||RAND MERCH INS HLDGS LTD||39,336,823,533|
|50||WOOLIES||WOOLWORTHS HOLDINGS LIMITED||38,848,170,658|
Let's look at some of our favourite retailers: Woolies market cap comes in at a modest R38,85 billion; Mr Price comes in at R39,99 billion; Pepkor at R55,10 billion; Clicks at R65,27 billion; Shoprite at R73,45 billion. Let's throw in Growthpoint Properties at R55,73 billion (because they are landlords of a lot of those retail outlets) and let's add Multichoice at R42,57 billion (because we need entertainment).
That gives us a nice total of R370 billion.
Yes, my fellow South Africans: with our overspend of R370 billion this year, we could have bought out Woolies, Mr Price, Pepkor, Clicks, Shoprite/Checkers, Growthpoint Properties, and Multichoice.
What is our government spending that money on? Yes, salaries for public servants.