This paper investigates the progressivity of personal income tax in South Africa over the period 1989 to 2003. We use the effective, redistributive and disproportionality measures of progressivity and find that progressivity of the tax system increased over the period 1990 to 1994. However, during the first phase of the reform programmes the results are inconclusive with the Kakwani index (disproportionality measure) showing increased progressivity. The redistributive effect measure, on the other hand, indicates a marginal decline in progressivity. During the second phase of the reform programmes, both techniques suggest a worsening in progressivity. One explanation for the decline in progressivity during the latter period in the analysis is the fact that many more "new" taxpayers entered the tax net (higher income groups in our database) which made the distribution of pre-tax income more unequal thus impacting on progressivity. On the other hand, the disproportionality measure shows a continuous, albeit volatile increase in progressivity over the latter period under investigation.