Form of Government: Republic
Area: 1 220 813 sq km
Population: 57 725 600 inhab. (estimate 2018)
Density: 47.29 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 22° - 35° S; long. 16° - 33° E
Capital: Pretoria=Tshwane (administrative capital) 741 651 inhab. (2011); Tshwane (Pretoria) 2 921 488 inhab. (2011), urban agglomeration; Bloemfontein (judicial capital) 256 185 inhab. (2011); Mangaung (Bloemfontein) 747 431 inhab. (2011), urban agglomeration; Cape Town=Kaapstad (legislative capital) 433 688 inhab. (2011); Cape Town 3 740 026 inhab. (2011), urban agglomeration
Currency: South African rand (100 cents)
Human development index: 0.699 (rank: 113)
President and head of government: Cyril Ramaphosa (ANC), elected 15 February 2018, reconfirmed 22 May 2019
National Assembly: seats based on the elections of 7 May 2014: ANC (African National Congress), 249; DA (Democratic Alliance), 89; EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters), 25; IFP (Inkatha Freedom Party, Zulu), 10; NFP (National Freedom Party), 6; others, 21
Internet: www.statssa.gov.za (Statistics South Africa)
Member of AU, Commonwealth, SACU, SADC, UN, WTO

South Africa

Useful information

International license plate code ZA
International dialling code 0027
Travel vaccinations requirement yellow fever (required only if traveling from a country with risk of transmission, including travelers having transited more than 12 hours through the airport of a country with risk of transmission); malaria prophylaxis (recommended for some areas)
Electricity (Voltage) 220/230
Driving side left
Internet code .za

GMT  +2
DST  not applied
Annual average temperature (°C) Cape Town 16.2; Durban 20.5; Johannesburg 16.2
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Cape Town 20/10.5; Durban 23.5/16.5; Johannesburg 20/10.5
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Cape Town 6/11; Durban 7/6; Johannesburg 9/9
Annual average precipitation (mm) Cape Town 505; Durban 1010; Johannesburg 703
Days of rainfall (annual average) Cape Town 89; Durban 89; Johannesburg 71

Politics and current affairs

The ANC once again holds the absolute majority following the elections on 8 May 2019 (57.5% of the votes and 230 seats in the National Assembly). On 22 May, C. Ramaphosa, leader of the ANC, was re-elected president by the National Assembly and formed a smaller government that was less compromised by corruption scandals compared to his predecessor, Jacob Zuma.

Geography.
South Africa is bordered to the north by Botswana, to the north-east by Zimbabwe, Eswatini and Mozambique and to the north-west by Namibia. It lies to the east and the south-east on the Indian Ocean and to the south-west and the west on the Atlantic Ocean.
The country also completely surrounds Lesotho. Mostly surrounded by the sea, South Africa is predominantly made up of plateaux that rise up towards the coast (to the east lie the Drakensberg mountain range) as well as a large escarpment from the foot of which extends the coastal plain. The main rivers are the River Orange, with its tributary of the River Vaal, and the River Limpopo.
The climate is tropical with abundant rainfall in the east, mediterranean in the south and less rainy in the west.

Government


The Union of South Africa was created from the federation of the former Boer republics of Orange and Transvaal and the British colonies of the Cape and Natal in 1910. It was an autonomous Dominion of the British Crown and fully independent in 1931. In 1948, the white oligarchy of Dutch descent (the Boers), belonging to the National Party, officially imposed a regime of racial segregation (apartheid) on the country. In 1960, the African National Congress, incorporating the black opposition, was outlawed. South Africa was condemned by the international community and left the Commonwealth, proclaiming itself a republic on 31 May 1961. The process of dismantling apartheid began in 1990-91 during the presidency of Fredrik De Klerk, who legalised the ANC and released its leader, Nelson Mandela, from prison. The first free multi-racial elections, accompanied by the withdrawal of international sanctions, were held in 1994 with the victory of the ANC and the election of Mandela as President. The provisional 1993 Constitution and the new Constitution in force since 4 February 1997 guarantee the cohabitation of the different communities by means of the total protection of minority groups and the sub-division of the state into nine provinces, each benefiting from a wide range of autonomy.
The President of the Republic is elected by the National Assembly and exercises executive power. The Parliament is made up of the National Assembly (400 members elected for five years by proportional representation) and the National Council of the Provinces (90 members designated by the provincial assemblies, with a mandate of five years). Those parties gaining at least 20% of the votes in the National Assembly may appoint a Vice-President.


Defence.
The defence force, (SANDF), set up in 1994, was formed by integrating the soldiers of the military wing of the ANC into the South African armed forces.


Justice.
The legal system is based on British Common Law and on Dutch Law. In 2006, the National Assembly approved a law allowing for the marriage of homosexual couples.

Defence
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Air force15.8%2015
Army60.4%2015
Justice
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Crimes4 309.7per 100 000 pop.2008
Homicides34per 100 000 pop.2016
TOP

Administrative division

Administrative divisions
Cities
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Soweto1 271 628inhab.2011
Johannesburg957 441inhab.2011
Urban agglomerations
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Johannesburg4 434 827inhab.2011
Cape Town3 740 026inhab.2011
TOP

Population

Population by age and gender (% - 2018)
75+
60-74
45-59
30-44
15-29
0-14
MALEAGEFEMALE

AIDS has reaped many victims and a large part of the population is HIV positive. The situation has been having lacerating effects on society. The growth rate of the population varies greatly according to the ethnic groups.

Demographic statistics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Birth rate20.82018
Death rate9.12018
Ethnic groups
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Bantu80.9%2018
Coloured8.8%2018


Religions
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Protestant73.2%2010
nonreligious/atheist14.9%2010


Languages
DESCRIPTION
Afrikaans (official)
English (official)
Population by selected age groups
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
0-14 years28.2%2018
15-29 years27%2018


TOP

Economy


Economic situation.
Growth is modest. The political crisis and uncertain economic management are holding back foreign investments, increasing instability of the rand and contributing to a worsening of evaluations by rating agencies. A chronic problem is the scarcity of electric energy; the construction of new power stations and an update of the electrical network are proceeding slowly. High unemployment is a cause of serious social conflict. A large part of the population has to rely on government subsidies to survive. A national minimum wage came into effect on 1 January 2019. High deficit complicates the adoption of effective policies to stimulate the economy.

Economy - General data
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)116.56index2016
Balance of trade-19 957.6M US$2018
Economy - Employment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Active population22 702 855units2018
Active population, Females45.3%2018
Economy - Unemployment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Unemployment rate26.9%2018
Unemployment rate, Females48.9%2018
Economy - State budget
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Expenses1 558 042M LCU2018
Revenues1 354 562M LCU2018
Employment by economic activity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
agriculture5.2%2018
industry23.2%2018
GDP by economic activity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
agriculture2.6%2017
industry28.9%2017
Financial data
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Currency in circulation166.57BN LCU2018
International reserves51 642M US$2018
TOP

Agriculture


Primary sector
Agriculture.
The country is a large-scale producer of cereals, especially wheat and maize. The range of fruit crops is also very significant: potatoes, citrus fruits, apples, tomatoes, pears, peaches, plums, apricots and tropical fruit (bananas, papayas, pineapples and mangos) are grown, while the south-western area of the Cape excels for its vineyards. Main industrial crops include sugar cane and tobacco, followed by soybeans, sunflowers, peanuts, cotton, castor oil plants, kenaf, sisal, Phormium and tea.
Forests.
The forests, on the southern maritime slopes and on the Drakensberg, produce tannin-bearing wood (wattle) and wood for industrial processing (Eucalyptus), as well as timber.
Livestock.
Wool and karakul skins are produced from sheep; angora goats are also very widespread.
Fishing.
The most abundant species of fish (sardines, mackerel and cod) are caught in the cold Atlantic waters of Port Nolloth, Lambert’s Bay, Stompneus Bay, Saldanha, Cape Town and Hout Bay. Aquaculture of molluscs is also developed (especially abalones).

Land use
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
arable land10.64%2015
forests7.62%2015
Agriculture - products - Cereals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
barley3071000 t2017
cereals, total18 905.8711000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Roots and tubers
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
potatoes2 450.5411000 t2017
roots and tubers, total2 524.4861000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Vegetables
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
asparagus0.3131000 t2017
cabbages149.4951000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Pulses
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beans, dry68.5251000 t2017
beans, green24.3231000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Grape
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
grapes2 032.5821000 t2017
raisins401000 t2006
Agriculture - products - Oilcrops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
castor oil seed6.4611000 t2017
groundnuts92.051000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Aromatics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
tea1.5851000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Industrial crops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
hops0.451000 t2017
sugar cane17 388.1771000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Cotton
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
seed cotton41.9451000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Fiber plants
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
jute0.8341000 t2014
sisal0.9931000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
apples924.3751000 t2017
apricots30.6371000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Citrus fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
citrus fruits2 421.5151000 t2017
citrus fruits, nes10.5561000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Tropical fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
avocados62.841000 t2017
bananas334.8491000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Others
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
mushrooms19.4551000 t2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Cereals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
barley91.381000 ha2017
maize2 628.61000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Roots and tubers
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
potatoes67.7461000 ha2017
sweet potatoes26.3411000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Vegetables
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cabbages2.6511000 ha2017
carrots and turnips7.4841000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Pulses
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beans, dry45.051000 ha2017
beans, green5.2141000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Grape
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
grape119.1811000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Oilcrops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
castor oil seed8.6091000 ha2017
groundnuts561000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Aromatics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
tea0.7731000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Industrial crops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
hops0.4161000 ha2017
sugar cane264.5051000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Cotton
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
seed cotton17.8411000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Fiber plants
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
jute1.1351000 ha2014
sisal1.5761000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
apples23.9641000 ha2017
apricots3.3841000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Citrus fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
citrus fruits73.5271000 ha2017
citrus fruits, nes0.2941000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Tropical fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
avocados11.8141000 ha2017
bananas5.5951000 ha2017
TOP

Forests-Livestock-Fishing

Forestry
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
timber25 787 5722017
Livestock - Cattle
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cattle12 953.3881000 heads2017
cattle and buffaloes12 953.3881000 heads2017
Livestock - Pigs
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
pigs1 480.8391000 heads2017
Livestock - Sheep
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
sheep22 688.931000 heads2017
Livestock - Goats
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
goats5 474.81000 heads2017
Livestock - Equines
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
asses147.611000 heads2017
asses and mules162.821000 heads2017
Livestock - Poultry
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
birds175 7311000 heads2017
Livestock - Beekeeping
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
honey1.0861000 t2014
Livestock - Livestock products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
butter19.251000 t2014
cheese88.7891000 t2014
Fishing
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
crustaceans and molluscs6 343.2t2017
freshwater fishes1 266t2017
TOP

Minerals


Secondary sector
Minerals.
Mineral resources are abundant and diversified. Substantial coal deposits are found at Witbank, Ermelo-Breyton and Springs (in Mpumalanga), at Vryheid, Utrecht and Paulpietersburg (in KwaZulu-Natal), at Clydesdale-Sasolburg (in the Free State province). The country is extremely rich in gold, with deposits in Witwatersrand (the most famous), Odendaalsrus, Elsburg (Germiston), West Driefontein, Western Deep Levels, East Daggafontein, Vaal Reef, Freegold, President Brand and Kloof.
Some gold minerals also contain uranium. There are also numerous diamond deposits: the main ones are those in Kimberley (a national monument), in Pretoria (Premier) and in Jagersfontein and Koffiefontein (Free State province). Alluvial diamonds are found on the bed of the River Vaal (to the west of Kimberley), at Lichtenburg and at the mouth of the River Orange (Port Nolloth) where with special equipment diamonds are also mined from the sea bed. Platinum mines are particularly productive (at Rustenburg and Union), and as a result the country accounts for three-quarters of world output.
Other minerals mined include iron (at Thabazimbi, in the Limpopo area and in Prestwick, in Natal), manganese (in Postmasburg, Hotazel, Lohathla, Mamatwan, Adams, Devon and Gopani), chromite (in Rustenburg-Northam and Steelpoort), antimony (in Gravelotte), vanadium (in Witbank), lead (in Broken Hill and Pering), zinc (in Gamsberg, Pering and Maranda), tin (in Waterberg and Potgietersrust), copper (in Okiep-Springbok, in the northern Cape and in Phalaborwa, in the Limpopo area), nickel (in Rustenburg and Insizwa), cobalt, zircon and titanium. Important non-metallic minerals are asbestos (the areas around Barberton, Pietersburg and Letaba), magnesite (the Limpopo and Mpumalanga areas), mica (in Letaba), phosphates (in Phalaborwa, Glenover and Langebaan), fluorite (in Vergenoeg), kaolin (in Grahamstown and Riversdale). There are important salt-works at Port Elizabeth and at Brantford.
Energy and industry.
Most electricity produced is of thermal origin (coal); the main facilities are located in Mpumalanga province. The largest hydro-electrical complex operates in the Drakensberg, between Free State and KwaZulu-Natal. There is a nuclear power station with two reactors in Koeberg.
The steel-making industry has plants in Middelburg, Pretoria, Vereeniging (Vanderbijl Park), Newcastle, Witbank and Johannesburg; the metal-working industry is centred in Zaaiplaats, Potgietersrust and Springs. There are about twenty active cement factories. The chemical industry is focused on Modderfontein, Coalbrook, Somerset West, Sasolburg, Phalaborwa, Klipfontein and Potcherstroom. There are refineries in Cape Town, Durban, Mossel Bay, Sasolburg and Secunda (Mpumalanga). Rubber is processed in Durban, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and East London. The mechanical industry is centred on Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, East London, Elsies River, Uitenhage, Durban, Johannesburg, Natalspruit, Kempton Park (aeroplanes) and Martindale. In particular, the car and spare-parts industry has grown significantly. The textile industry is centred on Worcester, Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth, Hammersdale, Mooi River and Uitenhage; the paper industry on Springs, Ngodwana, Tugela and Enstra.

Mineral resources - Energy minerals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
coal252 713.31000 t2018
coal, total252 713.31000 t2018
Mineral resources - Metal ores
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
antimony1.21000 t2017
chromite16 0001000 t2018
Mineral resources - Non-metal ores
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
bentonite1491000 t2016
feldspar1311000 t2016
Mineral resources - Rocks
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
diatomite2701000 t2018
kaolin21.11000 t2016
Mineral resources - Precious metals and stones
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
diamonds7 7001000 ct2018
diamonds, gemstones and industrial9 7001000 ct2018
TOP

Energy

Electric energy - Generated
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
- thermal213 066.98M kWh2016
- nuclear15 209M kWh2016
Electric energy - Installed capacity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
- thermal40 9741000 kW2016
- other renew.3 7841000 kW2016
Electric energy - Total production and capacity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
total net generation234 514.98M kWh2016
total installed capacity50 0211000 kW2016
TOP

Industry

Industry - Iron and Steel, Metallurgy
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
aluminium7161000 t2017
cobalt1.11000 t2016
Industry - Machinery and transport equipment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cars321 097no.2018
commercial vehicles289 757no.2018
Industry - Electrical and electronics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
fridges711 000no.2003
ovens1 277 000no.2003
Industry - Petrochemicals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
bitumen4691000 t2016
petrol8 425.61000 t2014
Industry - Chemicals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
ammonia6201000 t2016
hydrochloric acid206.71000 t2008
Industry - Textiles
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
carpets18 414.71000 m²2008
cotton fabrics98.7M m²2008
Industry - Clothing and footwear
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
footwear24 731 100pairs2011
Industry - Food and beverages
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beer of barley3 1501000 t2014
cottonseed oil6.71000 t2014
Industry - Tobacco
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
tobacco78 823t2002
Industry - Paper and wood products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
chemical pulp1 061.4371000 t2017
chemi-mechanical pulp1 283.4111000 t2017
Industry - Glass and other non-metallic mineral products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cement13 0001000 t2016
sheet glass16 437.71000 m²2008
Industry - Various
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
chemicals production2 491.3M US$2016
food, beverages and tobacco production7 897.7M US$2016
TOP

Trade


Tertiary sector
Foreign trade.
The country is part of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and of a customs union (SACU) with neighbouring Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho and Namibia, and also part of the larger SADC.


Main exports (M US$ - 2017) iron and steel 7 297, vehicles and parts thereof 6 833, platinum 6 577, coal products 5 894, machinery 5 368, gold 4 984, iron ores 4 785, oil and petroleum products 3 929, fruit and vegetables 3 603, chemicals 3 149, cars 2 959, manganese 2 527, chromite 2 048, metal ores 1 946, diamonds 1 897, electrical and electronic equipment 1 802, aluminium 1 807, plastics 1 304, wood pulp 941, wine 717


Finance and banking.
The country’s central bank is the South African Reserve Bank. The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) is the most important exchange in Africa.

Composition of goods exports
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
manufactures47.146% of goods exports2017
ores and metals25.518% of goods exports2017
International trade by country - Merchandise Export
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
China8 543M US$2018
Germany6 703M US$2018
International trade by country - Merchandise Import
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
China17 080M US$2018
Germany9 118M US$2018
Merchandise Export
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
201893 982M US$ -
201788 768M US$ -
Merchandise Import
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
2018113 940M US$ -
2017101 329M US$ -
TOP

Tourism


Tourism. The main tourist destinations are the great national parks, including the Kruger Park, which is part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (shared with Mozambique and Zimbabwe), and the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park (shared with Botswana).

International Tourism
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Expenditures6 064M US$2017
Number of arrivals10 285 000units2017
TOP

Communications

Communication - Transport
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Civil aviation, km flown194 400 000km flown2004
Civil aviation, passengers carried19 504.41000 units2016
Communication - Media and telecommunication
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Broadband subscribers29.944per 1000 pop.2017
Computers84.6per 1000 pop.2005
TOP

Social and welfare


Education and research.

Education is compulsory and free from 6 to 16 years of age.


Social security and health.
The social security system provides benefits for the unemployed, those who have sustained injuries at work and the elderly. Basic healthcare is guaranteed to all, but the public health service is lacking.

Social statistics - Education
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Expected years of schooling13.7years2016
Gradautes, percentage7.4%2017
Social statistics - Students and Teachers by level
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Teachers, primary level249 103units2016
Teachers, secondary level192 359units2016
Social statistics - Social protection
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Social protection spending9.1% of total expenses2016
Social statistics - Health
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Hospital beds2.2per 1000 pop.2014
Physicians0.82per 1000 pop.2016
Social statistics - Diseases
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
HIV18.8% of adults2017
HIV, total11.4%2001
Research
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Research and development spending0.8% of GDP2016
Other social indicators
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking84.75%2016
Access to electricity84.4%2017
Household consumption expenditure
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
clothing, footwear4.8%2015
education2.5%2015
TOP