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South Africa

 
Flag of South Africa
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Coordinates:
29.00 S  24.00 E

 
 
Introduction  Geography  People  Government  Economy
 
Communications  Transportation  Military  Transnational Issues

Map of South Africa

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Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    South Africa Top of Page
Background:
Definition Field Listing
After the British seized the Cape of Good Hope area in 1806, many of the Dutch settlers (the Boers) trekked north to found their own republics. The discovery of diamonds (1867) and gold (1886) spurred wealth and immigration and intensified the subjugation of the native inhabitants. The Boers resisted British encroachments, but were defeated in the Boer War (1899-1902). The resulting Union of South Africa operated under a policy of apartheid - the separate development of the races. The 1990s brought an end to apartheid politically and ushered in black majority rule.
   Geography    South Africa Top of Page
Location:
Definition Field Listing
Southern Africa, at the southern tip of the continent of Africa
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
29 00 S, 24 00 E
Map references:
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Africa
Area:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 1,219,912 sq km
land: 1,219,912 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes Prince Edward Islands (Marion Island and Prince Edward Island)
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly less than twice the size of Texas
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 4,862 km
border countries: Botswana 1,840 km, Lesotho 909 km, Mozambique 491 km, Namibia 967 km, Swaziland 430 km, Zimbabwe 225 km
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing
2,798 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to edge of the continental margin
Climate:
Definition Field Listing
mostly semiarid; subtropical along east coast; sunny days, cool nights
Terrain:
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vast interior plateau rimmed by rugged hills and narrow coastal plain
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Njesuthi 3,408 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
gold, chromium, antimony, coal, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, tin, uranium, gem diamonds, platinum, copper, vanadium, salt, natural gas
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 12.1%
permanent crops: 0.79%
other: 87.11% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
14,980 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
prolonged droughts
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
lack of important arterial rivers or lakes requires extensive water conservation and control measures; growth in water usage outpacing supply; pollution of rivers from agricultural runoff and urban discharge; air pollution resulting in acid rain; soil erosion; desertification
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
South Africa completely surrounds Lesotho and almost completely surrounds Swaziland
   People    South Africa Top of Page
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
44,187,637
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 29.7% (male 6,603,220/female 6,525,810)
15-64 years: 65% (male 13,955,950/female 14,766,843)
65 years and over: 5.3% (male 905,870/female 1,429,944) (2006 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 24.1 years
male: 23.3 years
female: 25 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
-0.4% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
18.2 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
22 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
-0.16 migrant(s)/1,000 population
note: there is an increasing flow of Zimbabweans into South Africa and Botswana in search of better economic opportunities (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.63 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 60.66 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 64.31 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 56.92 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 42.73 years
male: 43.25 years
female: 42.19 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.2 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
21.5% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.3 million (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
370,000 (2003 est.)
Nationality:
Definition Field Listing
noun: South African(s)
adjective: South African
Ethnic groups:
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black African 79%, white 9.6%, colored 8.9%, Indian/Asian 2.5% (2001 census)
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
Zion Christian 11.1%, Pentecostal/Charismatic 8.2%, Catholic 7.1%, Methodist 6.8%, Dutch Reformed 6.7%, Anglican 3.8%, other Christian 36%, Islam 1.5%, other 2.3%, unspecified 1.4%, none 15.1% (2001 census)
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
IsiZulu 23.8%, IsiXhosa 17.6%, Afrikaans 13.3%, Sepedi 9.4%, English 8.2%, Setswana 8.2%, Sesotho 7.9%, Xitsonga 4.4%, other 7.2% (2001 census)
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.4%
male: 87%
female: 85.7% (2003 est.)
   Government    South Africa Top of Page
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Republic of South Africa
conventional short form: South Africa
former: Union of South Africa
abbreviation: RSA
Government type:
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republic
Capital:
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Pretoria; note - Cape Town is the legislative center and Bloemfontein the judicial center
Administrative divisions:
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9 provinces; Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North-West, Northern Cape, Western Cape
Independence:
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31 May 1910 (from UK); note - South Africa became a republic in 1961 following an October 1960 referendum
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Freedom Day, 27 April (1994)
Constitution:
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10 December 1996; this new constitution was certified by the Constitutional Court on 4 December 1996, was signed by then President MANDELA on 10 December 1996, and entered into effect on 3 February 1997; it is being implemented in phases
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on Roman-Dutch law and English common law
Suffrage:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: President Thabo MBEKI (since 16 June 1999); Executive Deputy President Phumzile MLAMBO-NGCUKA (since 23 June 2005); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Thabo MBEKI (since 16 June 1999); Executive Deputy President Phumzile MLAMBO-NGCUKA (since 23 June 2005); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president elected by the National Assembly for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 24 April 2004 (next to be held April 2009)
election results: Thabo MBEKI elected president; percent of National Assembly vote - 100% (by acclamation)
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
bicameral Parliament consisting of the National Assembly (400 seats; members are elected by popular vote under a system of proportional representation to serve five-year terms) and the National Council of Provinces (90 seats, 10 members elected by each of the nine provincial legislatures for five-year terms; has special powers to protect regional interests, including the safeguarding of cultural and linguistic traditions among ethnic minorities); note - following the implementation of the new constitution on 3 February 1997, the former Senate was disbanded and replaced by the National Council of Provinces with essentially no change in membership and party affiliations, although the new institution's responsibilities have been changed somewhat by the new constitution
elections: National Assembly and National Council of Provinces - last held 14 April 2004 (next to be held NA 2009)
election results: National Assembly - percent of vote by party - ANC 69.7%, DA 12.4%, IFP 7%, UDM 2.3%, NNP 1.7%, ACDP 1.6%, other 5.3%; seats by party - ANC 279, DA 50, IFP 28, UDM 9, NNP 7, ACDP 6, other 21; National Council of Provinces - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NA
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Constitutional Court; Supreme Court of Appeals; High Courts; Magistrate Courts
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
African Christian Democratic Party or ACDP [Kenneth MESHOE, president]; African National Congress or ANC [Thabo MBEKI, president]; Democratic Alliance or DA [Anthony LEON] (formed from the merger of the Democratic Party or DP and the Freedom Alliance or FA); Inkatha Freedom Party or IFP [Mangosuthu BUTHELEZI, president]; Pan-Africanist Congress or PAC [Stanley MOGOBA, president]; New National Party or NNP; United Democratic Movement or UDM [Bantu HOLOMISA]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Congress of South African Trade Unions or COSATU [Zwelinzima VAVI, general secretary]; South African Communist Party or SACP [Blade NZIMANDE, general secretary]; South African National Civics Organization or SANCO [Mlungisi HLONGWANE, national president]; note - COSATU and SACP are in a formal alliance with the ANC
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
ACP, AfDB, AU, BIS, C, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, MIGA, MONUC, NAM, NSG, ONUB, OPCW, PCA, SACU, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMEE, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Barbara Joyce Mosima MASEKELA
chancery: 3051 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 232-4400
FAX: [1] (202) 265-1607
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Jendayi E. FRAZER
embassy: 877 Pretorius Street, Pretoria
mailing address: P. O. Box 9536, Pretoria 0001
telephone: [27] (12) 342-1048
FAX: [27] (12) 342-2244
consulate(s) general: Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
two equal width horizontal bands of red (top) and blue separated by a central green band which splits into a horizontal Y, the arms of which end at the corners of the hoist side; the Y embraces a black isosceles triangle from which the arms are separated by narrow yellow bands; the red and blue bands are separated from the green band and its arms by narrow white stripes
   Economy    South Africa Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
South Africa is a middle-income, emerging market with an abundant supply of natural resources; well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors; a stock exchange that ranks among the 10 largest in the world; and a modern infrastructure supporting an efficient distribution of goods to major urban centers throughout the region. However, growth has not been strong enough to lower South Africa's high unemployment rate, and daunting economic problems remain from the apartheid era - especially poverty and lack of economic empowerment among the disadvantaged groups. South African economic policy is fiscally conservative, but pragmatic, focusing on targeting inflation and liberalizing trade as means to increase job growth and household income.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$533.2 billion (2005 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing
$187.3 billion (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.9% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$12,000 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 2.5%
industry: 30.3%
services: 67.1% (2005 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
15.23 million economically active (2005 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 30%
industry: 25%
services: 45% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
26.6% (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
50% (2000 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 1.1%
highest 10%: 45.9% (1994)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
59.3 (1995)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4% (2005 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
16.8% of GDP (2005 est.)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $65.91 billion
expenditures: $70.62 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
35.8% of GDP (2005 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables; beef, poultry, mutton, wool, dairy products
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
mining (world's largest producer of platinum, gold, chromium), automobile assembly, metalworking, machinery, textiles, iron and steel, chemicals, fertilizer, foodstuffs, commercial ship repair
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.6% (2005 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
215.9 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
197.4 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
10.14 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
6.739 billion kWh (2003)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
216,700 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
484,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA bbl/day
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA bbl/day
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7.84 million bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.35 billion cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.35 billion cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
28.32 million cu m (1 January 2002)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
-$11.08 billion (2005 est.)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$50.91 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
gold, diamonds, platinum, other metals and minerals, machinery and equipment
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
UK 10.9%, US 9.3%, Japan 8.5%, Germany 6.4%, China 5.3%, Italy 4.5% (2005)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$52.97 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, scientific instruments, foodstuffs
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Germany 15.2%, US 7.1%, UK 7%, China 7%, Saudi Arabia 6%, Japan 6%, Iran 5.4%, France 4.4% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$20.63 billion (2005 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$29.97 billion (2005 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$487.5 million (2000)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
rand (ZAR)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
rand per US dollar - 6.3593 (2005), 6.4597 (2004), 7.5648 (2003), 10.5407 (2002), 8.6092 (2001)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
1 April - 31 March
   Communications    South Africa Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.844 million (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
19.5 million (2004)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: the system is the best developed and most modern in Africa
domestic: consists of carrier-equipped open-wire lines, coaxial cables, microwave radio relay links, fiber-optic cable, radiotelephone communication stations, and wireless local loops; key centers are Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, and Pretoria
international: country code - 27; 2 submarine cables; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 2 Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 14, FM 347 (plus 243 repeaters), shortwave 1 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
556 (plus 144 network repeaters) (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.za
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
460,572 (2005)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.6 million (2005)
   Transportation    South Africa Top of Page
Airports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
728 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 146
over 3,047 m: 10
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 51
914 to 1,523 m: 67
under 914 m: 13 (2005)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 582
1,524 to 2,437 m: 34
914 to 1,523 m: 300
under 914 m: 248 (2005)
Pipelines:
Definition Field Listing
condensate 100 km; gas 1,052 km; oil 847 km; refined products 1,354 km (2004)
Railways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 20,872 km
narrow gauge: 20,436 km 1.065-m gauge (10,436 km electrified); 436 km 0.610-m gauge
note: includes a 1,210 km commuter rail system (2004)
Roadways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 362,099 km
paved: 73,506 km
unpaved: 288,593 km (2002)
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 3 ships (1000 GRT or over) 32,815 GRT/39,295 DWT
by type: container 1, petroleum tanker 2
foreign-owned: 1 (Denmark 1)
registered in other countries: 8 (Panama 3, Seychelles 1, UK 4) (2005)
Ports and terminals:
Definition Field Listing
Cape Town, Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth, Richards Bay, Saldanha Bay
   Military    South Africa Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
South African National Defense Force (SANDF): Army, Navy, Air Force, Joint Operations, Joint Support, Military Intelligence, Military Health Service (2004)
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age for voluntary military service; women have a long history of military service in noncombat roles, dating back to World War I (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 10,354,769
females age 18-49: 10,626,550 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 4,927,757
females age 18-49: 4,609,071 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 512,407
females age 18-49: 506,078 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$3.55 billion (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.5% (2005 est.)
Military - note:
Definition Field Listing
with the end of apartheid and the establishment of majority rule, former military, black homelands forces, and ex-opposition forces were integrated into the South African National Defense Force (SANDF); as of 2003 the integration process was considered complete
   Transnational Issues    South Africa Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
South Africa has placed military along the border to stem the thousands of Zimbabweans fleeing to find work and escape political persecution; managed dispute with Namibia over the location of the boundary in the Orange River
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
Definition Field Listing
refugees (country of origin): 5,774 (Angola) 9,516 (Democratic Republic of Congo) 7,118 (Somalia) (2005)
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
transshipment center for heroin, hashish, marijuana, and cocaine; cocaine consumption on the rise; world's largest market for illicit methaqualone, usually imported illegally from India through various east African countries; illicit cultivation of marijuana; attractive venue for money launderers given the increasing level of organized criminal and narcotics activity in the region

This page was last updated on 20 July, 2006


Source: CIA Factbook