• H.E. Jacob Zuma

  • President

  • “In order to build on the legacy of former President Nelson Mandela, we have to strengthen our efforts in enhancing the SADC Common Agenda and build a better life for the peoples of our region.”
Full name The Republic of South Africa
Capital Pretoria (administrative), Bloemfontein (judicial), Cape Town (legislative)
Area 1,219,090 km2
Location Southern Africa, at the southern tip of the continent of Africa
Geographic coordinates 29 00 S, 24 00 E
Population 53,675,563
Languages
  • IsiZulu (official) 22.7%
  • IsiXhosa (official) 16%
  • Afrikaans (official) 13.5%
  • English (official) 9.6%
  • Sepedi (official) 9.1%
  • Setswana (official) 8%
  • Sesotho (official) 7.6%
  • Xitsonga (official) 4.5%
  • siSwati (official) 2.5%
  • Tshivenda (official) 2.4%
  • isiNdebele (official) 2.1%
  • sign language 0.5%
  • other 1.6%
Religion
  • Protestant 36.6% (Zionist Christian 11.1%, Pentecostal/Charismatic 8.2%, Methodist 6.8%, Dutch Reformed 6.7%, Anglican 3.8%)
  • Catholic 7.1%
  • Muslim 1.5%
  • other Christian 36%
  • other 2.3%
  • unspecified 1.4%
  • none 15.1%
Demonym South African(s)
Currency South African rand (ZAR)
Country code +27
Internet code .za
Industry Mining (platinum, gold, chromium), automobile assembly, metalworking, machinery
Agriculture Corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruits, beef
Exports Gold, diamonds, platinum, other metals and minerals, machinery and equipment
Government website www.gov.za
Geographic note Table Mountain in Cape Town is believed to be one of the oldest mountains in the world and one of the planet’s 12 main energy centres.
Source: CIA World Factbook & National Geographic
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Introduction

Every country in the world displays some diversity, but South Africa—stretching from the hippos in the Limpopo River to the penguins waddling on the Cape—is by far one of the best in the world. It befits its position at the southern end of the world’s most epic continent, with more types of terrain than photographers can shake their zoom lens at.

There’s the deserted Kalahari, Namakwa’s springtime symphony of wildflowers, iconic Table Mountain and Cape Point, Kruger National Park’s wildlife-stalked savannah, and running through the east of the country and into Lesotho, the Drakensberg. KwaZulu-Natal’s iSimangaliso Wetland Park alone has five distinct ecosystems, attracting both zebras and dolphins.

Source: Lonely Planet

Economy

As one of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), South Africa is well integrated into the global economy.

The outlook for growth is better for financial services and for the agriculture, forestry, and fisheries sectors. The National Development Plan, which aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030, focuses on creating jobs and improving education. The South African Reserve Bank has confirmed its commitment to price and financial stability, and inflation targeting remains a key monetary policy anchor in South Africa.

South Africa’s fiscal position improved with the deficit falling to 3.4% of gross domestic product (GDP), thanks to increased tax revenues, which helped offset increasing government expenditure.

Successes

The Constitution of South Africa is widely regarded as one of the best in the world in providing equal rights for its citizens. Development does involve meeting basic needs—food, shelter, water but it is much more than that, it is about rights and dignity, recognising its diversity but the citizens are of equal worth and value as well. Remarkably, women comprise 44% in parliaments and provincial legislatures.

More than 2.8 million new homes have been built since 1994. Nearly 4.2 million homes were electrified between 1994 and 2006. Access to safe water has increased from 59% of the population in 1994 to 91% in 2008. In 1994, 50% of the population had access to improved sanitation, and by 2009 this was 77%.

It was only after 1994 that South Africa became part of the continent of Africa. Now, it is a key player in the African Union and in SADC. It has led the call for leadership from Africa to deal with various regional conflicts. Owing to the longest period of economic growth in its history, South Africa has not relied on the IMF or World Bank for loans with conditions on its economic policy.