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Map of South Africa

DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    South Africa
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.

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   Geography    South Africa
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:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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: 12.08%
permanent crops: 0.79%
other: 87.13% (2001)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
13,500 sq km (1998 est.)
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

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   People    South Africa
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
42,718,530
note: South Africa took a census October 1996 that showed a population of 40,583,611 (after an official adjustment for a 6.8% underenumeration based on a postenumeration survey); 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 2004 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 29.5% (male 6,337,468; female 6,254,925)
15-64 years: 65.3% (male 13,898,269; female 14,017,559)
65 years and over: 5.2% (male 886,801; female 1,323,508) (2004 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 24.7 years
male: 24.2 years
female: 25.3 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
-0.25% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
18.38 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
20.54 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
-0.29 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 62.18 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 65.87 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 58.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 44.19 years
male: 44.39 years
female: 43.98 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.18 children born/woman (2004 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:
Definition Field Listing
black 75.2%, white 13.6%, Colored 8.6%, Indian 2.6%
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
Christian 68% (includes most whites and Coloreds, about 60% of blacks and about 40% of Indians), Muslim 2%, Hindu 1.5% (60% of Indians), indigenous beliefs and animist 28.5%
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
11 official languages, including Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.4%
male: 87%
female: 85.7% (2003 est.)

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   Government    South Africa
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:
Definition Field Listing
republic
Capital:
Definition Field Listing
Pretoria; note - Cape Town is the legislative center and Bloemfontein the judicial center
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
9 provinces; Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North-West, Northern Cape, Western Cape
Independence:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
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 Jacob ZUMA (since 17 June 1999); 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 Jacob ZUMA (since 17 June 1999); 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; election last held 2 June 1999 (next to be held 24 April 2004)
election results: Thabo MBEKI elected president; percent of National Assembly vote - 100% (by acclamation)
note: ANC-IFP is the governing coalition
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 (formed from the merger of the Democratic Party or DP and the Freedom Alliance or FA) [Anthony LEON]; Inkatha Freedom Party or IFP [Mangosuthu BUTHELEZI, president]; New National Party or NNP [Marthinus VAN SCHALKWYK]; Pan-Africanist Congress or PAC [Stanley MOGOBA, president]; 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, ISO, ITU, MONUC, NAM, NSG, OPCW, PCA, SACU, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMEE, UNMIL, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, 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, and New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Cameron H. HUME
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

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   Economy    South Africa
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. High crime and HIV/AIDS infection rates also deter investment. 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:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $456.7 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.9% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $10,700 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 3.8%
industry: 31%
services: 65.2% (2003)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
16% of GDP (2003)
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 (1993-94)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.9% (2003 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
16.35 million economically active (2003)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 30%, industry 25%, services 45% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
31% (includes workers no longer looking for employment) (2003 est.)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $37.48 billion
expenditures: $41.46 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA billion (2003)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
38.2% of GDP (2003)
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, textile, iron and steel, chemicals, fertilizer, foodstuffs
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5% (2003 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
195.6 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
181.2 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
6.91 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
6.2 billion kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
196,200 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
460,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7.84 million bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.8 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.8 billion cu m (2001 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
14.16 million cu m (1 January 2002)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$-1.234 billion (2003)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$36.77 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
gold, diamonds, platinum, other metals and minerals, machinery and equipment (1998 est.)
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
UK 12.6%, US 12.4%, Japan 9.2%, Germany 8.1%, China 4.7%, Italy 4.4% (2003 est.)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$33.89 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, scientific instruments, foodstuffs (2000 est.)
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Germany 16.8%, UK 8.6%, US 8.3%, Japan 6%, China 6%, Saudi Arabia 5.3%, France 5% (2003 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$7.972 billion (2003)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$25.9 billion (2003 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$487.5 million (2000)
Currency:
Definition Field Listing
rand (ZAR)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
ZAR
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
rand per US dollar - 7.5648 (2003), 10.5407 (2002), 8.6092 (2001), 6.9398 (2000), 6.1095 (1999)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
1 April - 31 March

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   Communications    South Africa
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.844 million (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
16.86 million (2003)
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
288,633 (2003)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.1 million (2002)

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   Transportation    South Africa
Railways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 22,298 km
narrow gauge: 21,984 km 1.065-m gauge (10,436 km electrified); 314 km 0.610-m gauge
note: includes a 2,228 km commuter rail system (2003)
Highways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 362,099 km
paved: 73,506 km (including 2,032 km of expressways)
unpaved: 288,593 km (2000)
Pipelines:
Definition Field Listing
condensate 100 km; gas 741 km; oil 847 km; refined products 1,354 km (2003)
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Cape Town, Durban, East London, Mossel Bay, Port Elizabeth, Richards Bay, Saldanha
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
total: 4 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 31,505 GRT/37,091 DWT
by type: container 1, liquefied gas 1, petroleum tanker 2
foreign-owned: Denmark 1, Netherlands 1
registered in other countries: 7 (2003 est.)
Airports:
Definition Field Listing
728 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 145
over 3,047 m: 10
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 51
914 to 1,523 m: 68
under 914 m: 11 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 583
1,524 to 2,437 m: 34
914 to 1,523 m: 299
under 914 m: 250 (2003 est.)

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   Military    South Africa
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
South African National Defense Force: Army, Navy, Air Force, and Medical Services
Military manpower - military age:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age (2004 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 11,924,500 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 7,247,696 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 471,221 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$2,653.4 million (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.7% (2003)
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

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   Transnational Issues    South Africa
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
managed dispute with Namibia over the location of the boundary in the Orange River
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

Large portions of this information is from the US government open source publication "The World Factbook", other content copyright © Stratus-Pikpuk, Inc. You may use this information without permission for educational or other non-profit purposes if you refer to us as the source, contact us if you want to use this commercially.


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