... potential armigers can apply for Arms consisting of just the shield and motto for a fraction of the price of a full achievement.
I would have thought that the shield would have been by far the largest and most time-consuming element of a grant of arms. Helm, mantling and motto would be virtually cost-free and could usually accomplished in a day at most unless the motto was difficult or controversial. There is no requirement for the crest to be unique, though this is desirable, so its share of the cost should be less than that of the shield. But if the present work-load of the College is approaching 100% (and I think we may assume it is, given the time between first contact and completed grant), any such "cheap and cheerful" grants could only be taken on by employing additional heralds or pursuivants with the potentially large additional costs involved (see my earlier post).
I should be interested to learn how the Lyon Court's funding is managed. As for S Africa, I believe their heraldic authority is part of the National Archives and its funding thus contains concealed subsidy - the heralds are civil servants and their income is not derived solely from fees.
We have I think discussed the whole question of the cost of a grant of arms before. But it is worth I think repeating that people pay far more over a life-span to fund many hobbies than the heraldry buff pays to the College of Arms for something that may be passed to his heirs and successors in perpetuity. A modest family car costs three times as much, a smallish yacht or motor boat four or five times as much - and they need to be maintained and account taken of depreciation. Football fans happily (?) spend a thousand or so annually to watch their favourite team (and that is assuming they don't shell out to go to the away matches). There is little change to be had from £5,000 from the cost of a family holiday abroad these days.