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 South Africa [Country Flag of South Africa]
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Transnational Issues
[Country map of South Africa]

South Africa

Geography

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Location: Southern Africa, at the southern tip of the continent of Africa

Geographic coordinates: 29 00 S, 24 00 E

Map references: Africa

Area:
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: slightly less than twice the size of Texas

Land boundaries:
total: 4,750 km
border countries: Botswana 1,840 km, Lesotho 909 km, Mozambique 491 km, Namibia 855 km, Swaziland 430 km, Zimbabwe 225 km

Coastline: 2,798 km

Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: mostly semiarid; subtropical along east coast; sunny days, cool nights

Terrain: vast interior plateau rimmed by rugged hills and narrow coastal plain

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Njesuthi 3,408 m

Natural resources: gold, chromium, antimony, coal, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, tin, uranium, gem diamonds, platinum, copper, vanadium, salt, natural gas

Land use:
arable land: 10%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures: 67%
forests and woodland: 7%
other: 15% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 12,700 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: prolonged droughts

Environment—current issues: lack of important arterial rivers or lakes requires extensive water conservation and control measures; growth in water usage threatens to outpace supply; pollution of rivers from agricultural runoff and urban discharge; air pollution resulting in acid rain; soil erosion; desertification

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography—note: South Africa completely surrounds Lesotho and almost completely surrounds Swaziland

People

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Population: 42,834,520 (July 1998 est.)
note: South Africa took a census 10 October 1996 which showed a total of 37,859,000 (after a 6.8% adjustment for underenumeration based on a post-enumeration survey); this figure is still about 10% below projections from earlier censuses; since the full results of the census have not been released for analysis, the numbers shown for South Africa do not take into consideration the results of this 1996 census

Age structure:
0-14 years: 35% (male 7,502,396; female 7,366,144)
15-64 years: 61% (male 12,947,521; female 13,079,892)
65 years and over: 4% (male 778,767; female 1,159,800) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.42% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 26.43 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 12.28 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 0.08 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 52.04 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 55.65 years
male: 53.56 years
female: 57.8 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.16 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Nationality:
noun: South African(s)
adjective: South African

Ethnic groups: black 75.2%, white 13.6%, Colored 8.6%, Indian 2.6%

Religions: Christian 68% (includes most whites and Coloreds, about 60% of blacks and about 40% of Indians), Muslim 2%, Hindu 1.5% (60% of Indians), traditional and animistic 28.5%

Languages: 11 official languages, including Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 81.8%
male: 81.9%
female: 81.7% (1995 est.)

Government

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Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of South Africa
conventional short form: South Africa
abbreviation: RSA

Data code: SF

Government type: republic

National capital: Pretoria (administrative); Cape Town (legislative); Bloemfontein (judicial)

Administrative divisions: 9 provinces; Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, North-West, Northern Cape, Northern Province, Western Cape

Independence: 31 May 1910 (from UK)

National holiday: Freedom Day, 27 April (1994)

Constitution: 10 December 1996; this new constitution was certified by the Constitutional Court on 4 December 1996, was signed by President MANDELA on 10 December 1996, and entered into effect on 3 February 1997; it is being implemented in phases

Legal system: based on Roman-Dutch law and English common law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Nelson MANDELA (since 10 May 1994); Executive Deputy President Thabo MBEKI (since 10 May 1994); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Nelson MANDELA (since 10 May 1994); Executive Deputy President Thabo MBEKI (since 10 May 1994); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president and executive deputy presidents elected by the National Assembly; election last held 9 May 1994 (next scheduled for sometime between May and July 1999)
election results: Nelson MANDELA elected president; percent of National Assembly vote - 100% (by acclamation); Thabo MBEKI and Frederik W. DE KLERK elected executive deputy presidents; percent of National Assembly vote—100% (by acclamation)
note: the initial governing coalition, made up of the ANC, the IFP, and the NP, which constituted a Government of National Unity or GNU, no longer includes the NP which was withdrawn by DE KLERK on 30 June 1996 when he voluntarily gave up his position as executive deputy president and distanced himself from the programs of the ANC

Legislative branch: 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, ten 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 Senate—last held 26-29 April 1994 (next to be held between May and July 1999); note—the Senate was disbanded and replaced by the National Council of Provinces on 6 February 1997
election results: National Assembly—percent of vote by party—ANC 62.6%, NP 20.4%, IFP 10.5%, FF 2.2%, DP 1.7%, PAC 1.2%, ACDP 0.5%, other 0.9%; seats by party - ANC 252, NP 82, IFP 43, FF 9, DP 7, PAC 5, ACDP 2; Senate—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—ANC 61, NP 17, FF 4, IFP 5, DP 3

Judicial branch: Constitutional Court; Supreme Court of Appeals; High Courts; Magistrate Courts

Political parties and leaders: African Christian Democratic Party or ACDP [Kenneth MESHOE, president]; African National Congress or ANC [Thabo MBEKI, president]; Democratic Party or DP [Tony LEON, president]; Freedom Front or FF [Constand VILJOEN, president]; Inkatha Freedom Party or IFP [Mangosuthu BUTHELEZI, president]; National Party or NP [Marthinus VAN SCHALKWYK, executive director]; Pan-Africanist Congress or PAC [Stanley MOGOBA, president]; United Democratic Movement or UDM [Roelf MEYER and Bantu HOLOMISA, leaders]
note: 11 other parties won votes in the April 1994 elections but not enough to gain seats in the National Assembly; moreover, in September 1997, a substantial new party, the United Democratic Movement or UDM, was formed, with Roelf MEYER and Bantu HOLOMISA as leaders

Political pressure groups and leaders: Congress of South African Trade Unions or COSATU [Sam SHILOWA, general secretary]; South African Communist Party or SACP [Charles NQAKULA, 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: AfDB, BIS, C, CCC, ECA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, MTCR, NAM, OAU, SACU, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Franklin SONN
chancery: 3051 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 232-4400
FAX: [1] (202) 265-1607
consulate(s) general: Beverly Hills (California), Chicago, and New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador James A. JOSEPH
embassy: 877 Pretorius St., Arcadia 0083
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: 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, embracing 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
note: prior to 26 April 1994, the flag was actually four flags in one—three miniature flags reproduced in the center of the white band of the former flag of the Netherlands, which has three equal horizontal bands of orange (top), white, and blue; the miniature flags are a vertically hanging flag of the old Orange Free State with a horizontal flag of the UK adjoining on the hoist side and a horizontal flag of the old Transvaal Republic adjoining on the other side

Economy

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Economy—overview: South Africa is a middle-income, developing country with an abundant supply of 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. Growth has been positive since the historic election of President Nelson MANDELA in the country's first multi-racial elections in 1994, but not strong enough to cut into the substantial unemployment. Daunting economic problems remain from the apartheid era, especially the problems of poverty and economic empowerment among the blacks. Other problems are crime and corruption. The new South African Government demonstrated its commitment to open markets, privatization, and a favorable investment climate with the release of its macroeconomic strategy in June 1996. Called "Growth, Employment and Redistribution," this policy framework includes the introduction of tax incentives to stimulate new investment in labor-intensive projects, expansion of basic infrastructure services, the restructuring and partial privatization of state assets, continued reduction of tariffs and subsidies to promote economic efficiency, improved services to the disadvantaged, and integration into the global economy.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$270 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 3% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$6,200 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 5%
industry: 37%
services: 58% (1995 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 9.7% (1997 est.)

Labor force:
total: 14.2 million economically active (1996)
by occupation: services 35%, agriculture 30%, industry 20%, mining 9%, other 6%

Unemployment rate: 30% (1997 est.); note—an additional 11% of the workforce is underemployed

Budget:
revenues: $30.5 billion
expenditures: $38 billion, including capital expenditures of $2.6 billion (FY94/95 est.)

Industries: mining (world's largest producer of platinum, gold, chromium), automobile assembly, metalworking, machinery, textile, iron and steel, chemical, fertilizer, foodstuffs

Industrial production growth rate: 1.2% (1996 est.)

Electricity—capacity: 34.566 million kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 163.56 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 3,559 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables; beef, poultry, mutton, wool, dairy products

Exports:
total value: $31.3 billion (f.o.b., 1997)
commodities: gold 20%, other minerals and metals 20%-25%, food 5%, chemicals 3% (1997)
partners: Italy, Japan, US, Germany, UK, other EU countries, Hong Kong

Imports:
total value: $28 billion (f.o.b., 1997)
commodities: machinery 32%, transport equipment 15%, chemicals 11%, petroleum products, textiles, scientific instruments (1994)
partners: Germany, US, Japan, UK, Italy

Debt—external: $23.5 billion (1997 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $NA
note: current aid pledges include US $600 million over three years, 1994-96; UK $150 million over three years; Australia $21 million over three years; Japan $1.3 billion over two years ending in 1996; EU $833 million over five years

Currency: 1 rand (R) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: rand (R) per US$1—4.94193 (January 1998), 4.60796 (1997), 4.29935 (1996), 3.62709 (1995), 3.55080 (1994), 3.26774 (1993)

Fiscal year: 1 April—31 March

Communications

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Telephones: 5,206,235 (1993 est.)

Telephone system: the system is the best developed, most modern, and has the highest capacity in Africa
domestic: consists of carrier-equipped open-wire lines, coaxial cables, microwave radio relay links, fiber-optic cable, and radiotelephone communication stations; key centers are Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, and Pretoria
international: 1 submarine cable; satellite earth stations—3 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 2 Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 14, FM 286, shortwave 0

Radios: 12.1 million (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 67 (1987 est.)

Televisions: 3.45 million (1990 est.)

Transportation

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Railways:
total: 21,431 km
narrow gauge: 20,995 km 1.067-m gauge (9,087 km electrified); 436 km 0.610-m gauge (1995)

Highways:
total: 331,265 km
paved: 137,475 km (including 1,142 km of expressways)
unpaved: 193,790 km (1995 est.)

Pipelines: crude oil 931 km; petroleum products 1,748 km; natural gas 322 km

Ports and harbors: Cape Town, Durban, East London, Mosselbaai, Port Elizabeth, Richards Bay, Saldanha

Merchant marine:
total: 9 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 274,797 GRT/270,837 DWT
ships by type: container 6, oil tanker 2, roll-on/roll-off cargo 1 (1997 est.)

Airports: 750 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 143
over 3,047 m: 10
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 46
914 to 1,523 m: 74
under 914 m: 9 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 607
1,524 to 2,437 m: 35
914 to 1,523 m: 308
under 914 m: 264 (1997 est.)

Military

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Military branches: South African National Defense Force or SANDF (includes Army, Navy, Air Force, and Medical Services), South African Police Service or SAPS

Military manpower—military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 11,144,895 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 6,777,677 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—reaching military age annually:
males: 445,110 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $2.9 billion (FY95/96)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 2.2% (FY95/96)

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: Swaziland has asked South Africa to open negotiations on reincorporating some nearby South African territories that are populated by ethnic Swazis or that were long ago part of the Swazi Kingdom

Illicit drugs: transshipment center for heroin 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