Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

 
Central Intelligence Agency
The Work of a Nation. The Center of Intelligence
CIA - The World Factbook The World Factbook Home
CIA - The World Factbook
Africa :: South Africa
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of South Africa
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of South Africa
Click flag or map to enlarge Opens in New Window
 
Map of South Africa
Click map to enlarge Opens in New Window
Photos of South Africa
 
Navigation Arrowview 8 photos Opens in New Window
of South Africa
Expand All | collapse All
Introduction ::South Africa
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Dutch traders landed at the southern tip of modern day South Africa in 1652 and established a stopover point on the spice route between the Netherlands and the East, founding the city of Cape Town. 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); however, the British and the Afrikaners, as the Boers became known, ruled together under the Union of South Africa. In 1948, the National Party was voted into power and instituted a policy of apartheid - the separate development of the races. The first multi-racial elections in 1994 brought an end to apartheid and ushered in black majority rule under the African National Congress (ANC). ANC infighting, which has grown in recent years, came to a head in September 2008 after President Thabo MBEKI resigned. Kgalema MOTLANTHE, the party's General-Secretary, succeeded as interim president until general elections scheduled for 2009.
Back to Top
Geography ::South Africa
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Southern Africa, at the southern tip of the continent of Africa
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
29 00 S, 24 00 E
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 1,219,090 sq km
country comparison to the world: 25
land: 1,214,470 sq km
water: 4,620 sq km
note: includes Prince Edward Islands (Marion Island and Prince Edward Island)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
slightly less than twice the size of Texas
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
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
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
2,798 km
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to edge of the continental margin
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
mostly semiarid; subtropical along east coast; sunny days, cool nights
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
vast interior plateau rimmed by rugged hills and narrow coastal plain
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Njesuthi 3,408 m
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
gold, chromium, antimony, coal, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, tin, uranium, gem diamonds, platinum, copper, vanadium, salt, natural gas
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
arable land: 12.1%
permanent crops: 0.79%
other: 87.11% (2005)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
14,980 sq km (2003)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
50 cu km (1990)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 12.5 cu km/yr (31%/6%/63%)
per capita: 264 cu m/yr (2000)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
prolonged droughts
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
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
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
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
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
South Africa completely surrounds Lesotho and almost completely surrounds Swaziland
Back to Top
People ::South Africa
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
49,052,489
country comparison to the world: 24
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, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0-14 years: 28.9% (male 7,093,328/female 7,061,579)
15-64 years: 65.8% (male 16,275,424/female 15,984,181)
65 years and over: 5.4% (male 1,075,117/female 1,562,860) (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 24.4 years
male: 24.1 years
female: 24.8 years (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0.281% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 173
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
19.93 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 99
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
16.99 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
-0.13 migrant(s)/1,000 population
country comparison to the world: 95
note: there is an increasing flow of Zimbabweans into South Africa and Botswana in search of better economic opportunities (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
urban population: 61% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.4% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 44.42 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 59
male: 48.66 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 40.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total population: 48.98 years
country comparison to the world: 209
male: 49.81 years
female: 48.13 years (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
2.38 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
18.1% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
5.7 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 2
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
350,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 1
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2009)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
noun: South African(s)
adjective: South African
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
black African 79%, white 9.6%, colored 8.9%, Indian/Asian 2.5% (2001 census)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Zion Christian 11.1%, Pentecostal/Charismatic 8.2%, Catholic 7.1%, Methodist 6.8%, Dutch Reformed 6.7%, Anglican 3.8%, Muslim 1.5%, other Christian 36%, other 2.3%, unspecified 1.4%, none 15.1% (2001 census)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
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)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.4%
male: 87%
female: 85.7% (2003 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2004)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
5.4% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 53
Back to Top
Government ::South Africa
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
conventional long form: Republic of South Africa
conventional short form: South Africa
former: Union of South Africa
abbreviation: RSA
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
republic
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
name: Pretoria (administrative capital)
geographic coordinates: 25 42 S, 28 13 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
note: Cape Town (legislative capital); Bloemfontein (judicial capital)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
9 provinces; Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North-West, Western Cape
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
31 May 1910 (Union of South Africa formed from four British colonies: Cape Colony, Natal, Transvaal, and Orange Free State); 31 May 1961 (republic declared) 27 April 1994 (majority rule)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Freedom Day, 27 April (1994)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
10 December 1996; note - certified by the Constitutional Court on 4 December 1996; was signed by then President MANDELA on 10 December 1996; and entered into effect on 4 February 1997
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
based on Roman-Dutch law and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
18 years of age; universal
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
chief of state: President Jacob ZUMA (since 9 May 2009); Executive Deputy President Kgalema MOTLANTHE (since 11 May 2009); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Jacob ZUMA (since 9 May 2009); Executive Deputy President Kgalema MOTLANTHE (since 11 May 2009)
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 on 6 May 2009 (next to be held in 2014)
election results: Jacob ZUMA elected president; National Assembly vote - Jacob ZUMA 277, Mvume DANDALA 47, other 76
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
bicameral Parliament consisting of 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) and the National Assembly (400 seats; members are elected by popular vote under a system of proportional representation to serve five-year terms); note - following the implementation of the new constitution on 4 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 on 22 April 2009 (next to be held in April 2014)
election results: National Council of Provinces - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - ANC 65.9%, DA 16.7%, COPE 7.4%, IFP 4.6%, other 5.4%; seats by party - ANC 264, DA 67, COPE 30, IFP 18, other 21
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Constitutional Court; Supreme Court of Appeals; High Courts; Magistrate Courts
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
African Christian Democratic Party or ACDP [Kenneth MESHOE]; African National Congress or ANC [Jacob ZUMA]; Congress of the People or COPE [Mosiuoa LEKOTA]; Democratic Alliance or DA [Helen ZILLE]; Freedom Front Plus or FF+ [Pieter MULDER]; Independent Democrats or ID [Patricia DE LILLE]; Inkatha Freedom Party or IFP [Mangosuthu BUTHELEZI]; Pan-Africanist Congress or PAC [Motsoko PHEKO]; United Christian Democratic Party or UCDP [Lucas MANGOPE]; United Democratic Movement or UDM [Bantu HOLOMISA]
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
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: note - COSATU and SACP are in a formal alliance with the ANC
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
ACP, AfDB, AU, BIS, C, FAO, G-20, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MONUC, NAM, NSG, OPCW, PCA, SACU, SADC, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
chief of mission: Ambassador Welile Augustine NHLAPO
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
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
chief of mission: Ambassador Eric BOST
embassy: 877 Pretorius Street, Pretoria
mailing address: P. O. Box 9536, Pretoria 0001
telephone: [27] (12) 431-4000
FAX: [27] (12) 342-2299
consulate(s) general: Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
two equal width horizontal bands of red (top) and blue separated by a central green band that 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
Back to Top
Economy ::South Africa
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
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 is 17th largest in the world; and modern infrastructure supporting an efficient distribution of goods to major urban centers throughout the region. Growth was robust from 2004 to 2008 as South Africa reaped the benefits of macroeconomic stability and a global commodities boom, but began to slow in the second half of 2008 due to the global financial crisis' impact on commodity prices and demand. However, unemployment remains high and outdated infrastructure has constrained growth. At the end of 2007, South Africa began to experience an electricity crisis because state power supplier Eskom suffered supply problems with aged plants, necessitating "load-shedding" cuts to residents and businesses in the major cities. Daunting economic problems remain from the apartheid era - especially poverty, lack of economic empowerment among the disadvantaged groups, and a shortage of public transportation. South African economic policy is fiscally conservative but pragmatic, focusing on controlling inflation, maintaining a budget surplus, and using state-owned enterprises to deliver basic services to low-income areas as a means to increase job growth and household income.
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$491 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26
$476.2 billion (2007 est.)
$453.1 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$277.2 billion (2008 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
3.1% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 124
5.1% (2007 est.)
5.3% (2006 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$10,100 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
$9,800 (2007 est.)
$9,500 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
agriculture: 3.3%
industry: 33.7%
services: 63% (2008 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
17.79 million economically active (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 33
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
agriculture: 9%
industry: 26%
services: 65% (2007 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
22.9% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171
24.3% (2007 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
50% (2000 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
lowest 10%: 1.3%
highest 10%: 44.7% (2000)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
65 (2005)
country comparison to the world: 2
59.3 (1994)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
23.2% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 66
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
revenues: $77.43 billion
expenditures: $79.9 billion (2008 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
31.6% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 71
45.9% of GDP (2004 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
11.3% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162
6.5% (2007 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
11.5% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 32
11% (31 December 2007)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 57
13.17% (31 December 2007)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$43.99 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 22
$58.49 billion (31 December 2007)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$124.4 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 20
$141.9 billion (31 December 2007)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$215.6 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 30
$254.9 billion (31 December 2007)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$491.3 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 19
$833.5 billion (31 December 2007)
$715 billion (31 December 2006)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables; beef, poultry, mutton, wool, dairy products
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
mining (world's largest producer of platinum, gold, chromium), automobile assembly, metalworking, machinery, textiles, iron and steel, chemicals, fertilizer, foodstuffs, commercial ship repair
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
1% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 123
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
240.3 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
215.1 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 17
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
14.16 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
10.57 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
195,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 41
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
583,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 30
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
128,500 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 63
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
490,500 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
15 million bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
3.25 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 53
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
6.45 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 54
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 120
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
3.2 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 40
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
27.16 million cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$-20.98 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 177
$-20.78 billion (2007 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$86.12 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 41
$75.92 billion (2007 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
gold, diamonds, platinum, other metals and minerals, machinery and equipment
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
US 11.1%, Japan 9.8%, UK 9.6%, China 8.7%, Germany 6.8%, Netherlands 4.1% (2008)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$90.57 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36
$81.66 billion (2007 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, scientific instruments, foodstuffs
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Germany 10.8%, China 10.3%, US 7%, Angola 6.8%, Saudi Arabia 5.7%, Japan 4.9%, UK 4.8%, Iran 4.4% (2008)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$34.07 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36
$32.94 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$71.81 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 43
$75.28 billion (31 December 2007)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$120 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
$110.4 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
$63.57 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 28
$65.88 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
rand (ZAR) per US dollar - 7.9576 (2008 est.), 7.05 (2007), 6.7649 (2006), 6.3593 (2005), 6.4597 (2004)
Back to Top
Communications ::South Africa
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
4.425 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 35
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
45 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 24
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
general assessment: the system is the best developed and most modern in Africa
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity exceeds 110 telephones per 100 persons; 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; the SAT-3/WASC and SAFE fiber optic cable systems connect South Africa to Europe and Asia; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 2 Atlantic Ocean)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
AM 14, FM 347 (plus 243 repeaters), shortwave 1 (1998)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
556 (plus 144 network repeaters) (1997)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
.za
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
1.73 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 34
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
4.187 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 49
Back to Top
Transportation ::South Africa
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
607 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 11
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 148
over 3,047 m: 10
2,438 to 3,047 m: 6
1,524 to 2,437 m: 52
914 to 1,523 m: 68
under 914 m: 12 (2009)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 459
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 34
914 to 1,523 m: 298
under 914 m: 125 (2009)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
1 (2009)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
condensate 11 km; gas 908 km; oil 980 km; refined products 1,379 km (2008)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 20,872 km
country comparison to the world: 14
narrow gauge: 20,436 km 1.065-m gauge (8,271 km electrified); 436 km 0.610-m gauge (2008)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 362,099 km
country comparison to the world: 18
paved: 73,506 km (includes 239 km of expressways)
unpaved: 288,593 km (2002)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
total: 3
country comparison to the world: 138
by type: container 1, petroleum tanker 2
foreign-owned: 1 (Denmark 1)
registered in other countries: 8 (Bahamas 1, Nigeria 1, NZ 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1, Seychelles 1, UK 3) (2008)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Richards Bay, Saldanha Bay
Back to Top
Military ::South Africa
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
South African National Defense Force (SANDF): South African Army, South African Navy (SAN), South African Air Force (SAAF), Joint Operations Command, Military Intelligence, South African Military Health Services (2009)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
18 years of age for voluntary military service; women are eligible to serve in noncombat roles; 2-year service obligation (2007)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
males age 16-49: 11,622,507
females age 16-49: 11,501,537 (2008 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
males age 16-49: 7,641,557
females age 16-49: 6,518,793 (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
male: 511,616
female: 510,540 (2009 est.)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
1.7% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 98
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
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
Back to Top
Transnational Issues ::South Africa
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
South Africa has placed military along the border to apprehend the thousands of Zimbabweans fleeing economic dysfunction and political persecution; as of January 2007, South Africa also supports large numbers of refugees and asylum seekers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (33,000), Somalia (20,000), Burundi (6,500), and other states in Africa (26,000); managed dispute with Namibia over the location of the boundary in the Orange River; in 2006, Swazi king advocates resort to ICJ to claim parts of Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal from South Africa
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
refugees (country of origin): 10,772 (Democratic Republic of Congo); 7,818 (Somalia); 5,759 (Angola) (2007)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
current situation: South Africa is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for forced labor and sexual exploitation; women and girls are trafficked internally - and occasionally to European and Asian countries - for sexual exploitation; women from other African countries are trafficked to South Africa and, less frequently, onward to Europe for sexual exploitation; men and boys are trafficked from neighboring countries for forced agricultural labor; Asian and Eastern European women are trafficked to South Africa for debt-bonded sexual exploitation
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - South Africa is on the Tier 2 Watch List for a fourth consecutive year for its failure to show increasing efforts to address trafficking; the government provided inadequate data in 2007 on trafficking crimes investigated or prosecuted, or on resulting convictions or sentences; it also did not provide information on its efforts to protect victims of trafficking; the country continues to deport and/or prosecute suspected foreign victims without providing appropriate protective services (2008)
Field info displayed for all countries in alpha order.
transshipment center for heroin, hashish, and cocaine, as well as a major cultivator of marijuana in its own right; cocaine and heroin consumption on the rise; world's largest market for illicit methaqualone, usually imported illegally from India through various east African countries, but increasingly producing its own synthetic drugs for domestic consumption; attractive venue for money launderers given the increasing level of organized criminal and narcotics activity in the region and the size of the South African economy
Back to Top
Expand All | collapse All
The online Factbook is updated bi-weekly. ISSN 1553-8133
For additional information on government leaders in selected foreign countries, go to World Leaders.