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Africa :: South Africa
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South Africa
  • Introduction :: SOUTH AFRICA

  • 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 Far East, founding the city of Cape Town. After the British seized the Cape of Good Hope area in 1806, many of the Dutch settlers (Afrikaners, called "Boers" (farmers) by the British) trekked north to found their own republics in lands taken from the indigenous black inhabitants. The discovery of diamonds (1867) and gold (1886) spurred wealth and immigration and intensified the subjugation of the native inhabitants. The Afrikaners resisted British encroachments but were defeated in the Second South African War (1899-1902); however, the British and the Afrikaners, ruled together beginning in 1910 under the Union of South Africa, which became a republic in 1961 after a whites-only referendum. In 1948, the Afrikaner-dominated National Party was voted into power and instituted a policy of apartheid - the separate development of the races - which favored the white minority at the expense of the black majority. The African National Congress (ANC) led the opposition to apartheid and many top ANC leaders, such as Nelson MANDELA, spent decades in South Africa's prisons. Internal protests and insurgency, as well as boycotts by some Western nations and institutions, led to the regime's eventual willingness to negotiate a peaceful transition to majority rule. The first multi-racial elections in 1994 following the end of apartheid ushered in majority rule under an ANC-led government. South Africa has since struggled to address apartheid-era imbalances in decent housing, education, and health care. ANC infighting came to a head in 2008 when President Thabo MBEKI was recalled by Parliament, and Deputy President Kgalema MOTLANTHE, succeeded him as interim president. Jacob ZUMA became president after the ANC won general elections in 2009; he was reelected in 2014.
  • Geography :: SOUTH AFRICA

  • Southern Africa, at the southern tip of the continent of Africa
    29 00 S, 24 00 E
    Africa
    total: 1,219,090 sq km
    land: 1,214,470 sq km
    water: 4,620 sq km
    note: includes Prince Edward Islands (Marion Island and Prince Edward Island)
    country comparison to the world: 25
    slightly less than twice the size of Texas
    Area comparison map:
    total: 5,244 km
    border countries (6): Botswana 1,969 km, Lesotho 1,106 km, Mozambique 496 km, Namibia 1,005 km, Swaziland 438 km, Zimbabwe 230 km
    2,798 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    continental shelf: 200 nm or to edge of the continental margin
    mostly semiarid; subtropical along east coast; sunny days, cool nights
    vast interior plateau rimmed by rugged hills and narrow coastal plain
    mean elevation: 1,034 m
    elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Njesuthi 3,408 m
    gold, chromium, antimony, coal, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, tin, rare earth elements, uranium, gem diamonds, platinum, copper, vanadium, salt, natural gas
    agricultural land: 79.4%
    arable land 9.9%; permanent crops 0.3%; permanent pasture 69.2%
    forest: 7.6%
    other: 13% (2011 est.)
    16,700 sq km (2012)
    51.4 cu km (2011)
    total: 12.5 cu km/yr (36%/7%/57%)
    per capita: 271.7 cu m/yr (2005)
    prolonged droughts
    volcanism: the volcano forming Marion Island in the Prince Edward Islands, which last erupted in 2004, is South Africa's only active volcano
    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
    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
    South Africa completely surrounds Lesotho and almost completely surrounds Swaziland
  • People and Society :: SOUTH AFRICA

  • noun: South African(s)
    adjective: South African
    black African 80.2%, white 8.4%, colored 8.8%, Indian/Asian 2.5%
    note: colored is a term used in South Africa, including on the national census, for persons of mixed race ancestry (2014 est.)
    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% (2011 est.)
    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% (2001 census)
    53,675,563
    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 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 26
    0-14 years: 28.43% (male 7,660,173/female 7,598,013)
    15-24 years: 18.52% (male 4,937,169/female 5,002,201)
    25-54 years: 41.07% (male 11,120,423/female 10,923,422)
    55-64 years: 6.53% (male 1,628,183/female 1,874,946)
    65 years and over: 5.46% (male 1,231,627/female 1,699,406) (2015 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 52.1%
    youth dependency ratio: 44.5%
    elderly dependency ratio: 7.7%
    potential support ratio: 13.1% (2015 est.)
    total: 26.5 years
    male: 26.2 years
    female: 26.7 years (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 145
    1.33% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 90
    20.75 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    9.91 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 46
    2.42 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 42
    urban population: 64.8% of total population (2015)
    rate of urbanization: 1.59% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    Johannesburg (includes Ekurhuleni) 9.399 million; Cape Town (legislative capital) 3.66 million; Durban 2.901 million; PRETORIA (capital) 2.059 million; Port Elizabeth 1.179 million; Vereeniging 1.155 million (2015)
    at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.87 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.73 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
    138 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 38
    total: 32.99 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 36.62 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 29.27 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 64
    total population: 62.34 years
    male: 60.83 years
    female: 63.87 years (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 191
    2.33 children born/woman (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 88
    8.9% of GDP (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 42
    0.78 physicians/1,000 population (2013)
    2.8 beds/1,000 population (2005)
    improved:
    urban: 99.6% of population
    rural: 81.4% of population
    total: 93.2% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 0.4% of population
    rural: 18.6% of population
    total: 6.8% of population (2015 est.)
    improved:
    urban: 69.6% of population
    rural: 60.5% of population
    total: 66.4% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 30.4% of population
    rural: 39.5% of population
    total: 33.6% of population (2015 est.)
    18.92% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    6,836,500 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 1
    138,400 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 2
    degree of risk: intermediate
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
    water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2013)
    25.6% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 24
    8.7% (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 72
    6.1% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 42
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 94.3%
    male: 95.5%
    female: 93.1% (2015 est.)
    total: 14 years
    male: 13 years
    female: 14 years (2012)
    total: 51.4%
    male: 48%
    female: 55.5% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 6
  • Government :: SOUTH AFRICA

  • conventional long form: Republic of South Africa
    conventional short form: South Africa
    former: Union of South Africa
    abbreviation: RSA
    etymology: self-descriptive name from the country's location on the continent; "Africa" is derived from the Roman designation of the area corresponding to present-day Tunisia "Africa terra," which meant "Land of the Afri" (the tribe resident in that area), but which eventually came to mean the entire continent
    parliamentary republic
    name: Pretoria (administrative capital); Cape Town (legislative capital); Bloemfontein (judicial capital)
    geographic coordinates: 25 42 S, 28 13 E
    time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    9 provinces; Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West, Western Cape
    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)
    Freedom Day, 27 April (1994)
    several previous; latest drafted 8 May 1996, approved 4 December 1996, effective 4 February 1997; amended many times, last in 2013 (2016)
    mixed legal system of Roman-Dutch civil law, English common law, and customary law
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    citizenship by birth: no
    citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of South Africa
    dual citizenship recognized: yes, but requires prior permission of the government
    residency requirement for naturalization: 1 year
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Jacob ZUMA (since 9 May 2009); Deputy President Matamela Cyril RAMAPHOSA (since 26 May 2014) note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
    head of government: President Jacob ZUMA (since 9 May 2009); Deputy President Matamela Cyril RAMAPHOSA (since 26 May 2014)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
    elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by the National Assembly for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 21 May 2014 (next to be held in May 2019)
    election results: Jacob ZUMA (ANC) reelected president by the National Assembly unopposed
    description: bicameral Parliament consists of the National Council of Provinces (90 seats; 10-member delegations appointed by each of the 9 provincial legislatures to serve 5-year terms; note - this council has special powers to protect regional interests, including safeguarding cultural and linguistic traditions among ethnic minorities) and the National Assembly (400 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 5-year terms)
    elections: National Assembly and National Council of Provinces - last held on 7 May 2014 (next to be held in 2019)
    election results: National Council of Provinces - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ANC 60, DA 20, EFF 7, IFP 1, NFP 1, UDM 1; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - ANC 62.2%, DA 22.2%, EFF 6.4%, IFP 2.4%, NFP 1.6%, UDM 1.0%, other 4.2%; seats by party - ANC 249, DA 89, EFF 25, IFP 10, NFP 6, UDM 4, other 17
    highest court(s): Supreme Court of Appeals (consists of the court president, deputy president, and 21 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of the chief and deputy chief justices and 9 judges)
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court of Appeals president and vice-president appointed by the national president after consultation with the Judicial Services Commission (JSC), a 23-member body chaired by the chief justice and includes other judges and judicial executives, members of parliament, practicing lawyers and advocates, a teacher of law, and several members designated by the national president; other Supreme Court judges appointed by the national president on the advice of the JSC and hold office until discharged from active service by terms of an Act of Parliament; Constitutional Court chief and deputy chief justices appointed by the national president after consultation with the JSC and with heads of the National Assembly; other Constitutional Court judges appointed by the national president after consultation with the chief justice and leaders of the National Assembly; Constitutional Court judges appointed for 12-year non-renewable terms or until age 70
    subordinate courts: High Courts; Magistrates' Courts; labor courts; land claims courts
    African Christian Democratic Party or ACDP [Kenneth MESHOE]
    African Independent Congress or AIC [Mandla GALD]
    African National Congress or ANC [Jacob ZUMA]
    African People's Convention or APC [Themba GODI]
    Agamg SA [Andries TLOUAMMA]
    Congress of the People or COPE [Mosiuoa LEKOTA]
    Democratic Alliance or DA [Mmusi MAIMANE]
    Economic Freedom Fighters or EFF [Julius MALEMA]
    Freedom Front Plus or FF+ [Pieter MULDER]
    Inkatha Freedom Party or IFP [Mangosuthu BUTHELEZI]
    National Freedom Party or NFP [Zanele kaMAGWAZA-MSIBI]
    Pan-Africanist Congress of Azania or PAC [Alton MPHETHI]
    United Christian Democratic Party or UCDP [Isaac Sipho MFUNDISI]
    United Democratic Movement or UDM [Bantu HOLOMISA]
    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 Civic Organization or SANCO [Richard MDAKANE, national president]
    note: COSATU and SACP are in a formal alliance with the African National Congress
    ACP, AfDB, AU, BIS, BRICS, C, CD, FAO, FATF, G-20, G-24, G-5, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MONUSCO, NAM, NSG, OECD (Enhanced Engagement, OPCW, Paris Club (associate), PCA, SACU, SADC, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
    chief of mission: Ambassador Mninwa Johnnes MAHLANGU (since 23 February 2015)
    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
    chief of mission: Ambassador Patrick Hubert GASPARD (since 16 October 2013)
    embassy: 877 Pretorius Street, Arcadia, 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
    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; the flag colors do not have any official symbolism, but the Y stands for the "convergence of diverse elements within South African society, taking the road ahead in unity"; black, yellow, and green are found on the flag of the African National Congress, while red, white, and blue are the colors in the flags of the Netherlands and the UK, whose settlers ruled South Africa during the colonial era
    note: the South African flag is one of only two national flags to display six colors as part of its primary design, the other is South Sudan's
    springbok (antelope), king protea flower; national colors: red, green, blue, yellow, black, white
    name: "National Anthem of South Africa"
    lyrics/music: Enoch SONTONGA and Cornelius Jacob LANGENHOVEN/Enoch SONTONGA and Marthinus LOURENS de Villiers
    note: adopted 1994; a combination of "N'kosi Sikelel' iAfrica" (God Bless Africa) and "Die Stem van Suid Afrika" (The Call of South Africa), which were respectively the anthems of the non-white and white communities under apartheid; official lyrics contain a mixture of Xhosa, Zulu, Sesotho, Afrikaans, and English (i.e., the five most widely spoken of South Africa's 11 official languages); music incorporates the melody used in the Tanzanian and Zambian anthems
  • Economy :: SOUTH AFRICA

  • South Africa is a middle-income emerging market with an abundant supply of natural resources; well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors; and a stock exchange that is Africa’s largest and among the top 20 in the world.
    Economic growth has decelerated in recent years, slowing to just 1.5% in 2014. Unemployment, poverty, and inequality - among the highest in the world - remain a challenge. Official unemployment is roughly 25% of the workforce, and runs significantly higher among black youth. Even though the country's modern infrastructure supports a relatively efficient distribution of goods to major urban centers throughout the region, unstable electricity supplies retard growth. Eskom, the state-run power company, is building three new power stations and is installing new power demand management programs to improve power grid reliability. Load shedding and resulting rolling blackouts gripped many parts of South Africa in late 2014 and early 2015 because of electricity supply constraints due to technical problems at some generation units, unavoidable planned maintenance, and an accident at a power station in Mpumalanga province. The rolling blackouts were the worst the country faced since 2008. Construction delays at two additional plants, however, mean South Africa will continue to operate on a razor thin margin; economists judge that growth cannot exceed 3% until electrical supply problems are resolved.
    South Africa's economic policy has focused on controlling inflation; however, the country faces structural constraints that also limit economic growth, such as skills shortages, declining global competitiveness, and frequent work stoppages due to strike action. The current government faces growing pressure from urban constituencies to improve the delivery of basic services to low-income areas and to increase job growth.
    $723.5 billion (2015 est.)
    $714.4 billion (2014 est.)
    $703.5 billion (2013 est.)
    note: data are in 2015 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 31
    $313 billion (2015 est.)
    1.3% (2015 est.)
    1.5% (2014 est.)
    2.2% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 162
    $13,200 (2015 est.)
    $13,200 (2014 est.)
    $13,200 (2013 est.)
    note: data are in 2015 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 118
    15.1% of GDP (2015 est.)
    14.9% of GDP (2014 est.)
    14.4% of GDP (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 112
    household consumption: 59.6%
    government consumption: 20%
    investment in fixed capital: 22.2%
    investment in inventories: -0.6%
    exports of goods and services: 31.5%
    imports of goods and services: -32.7% (2015 est.)
    agriculture: 2.4%
    industry: 30.3%
    services: 67.4% (2015 est.)
    corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables; beef, poultry, mutton, wool, dairy products
    mining (world's largest producer of platinum, gold, chromium), automobile assembly, metalworking, machinery, textiles, iron and steel, chemicals, fertilizer, foodstuffs, commercial ship repair
    1.7% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 125
    20.86 million (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 30
    agriculture: 4%
    industry: 18%
    services: 66% (2014 est.)
    25.9% (2015 est.)
    25.1% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    35.9% (2012 est.)
    lowest 10%: 1.2%
    highest 10%: 51.7% (2009 est.)
    62.5 (2013 est.)
    59.3 (1994)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    revenues: $84.15 billion
    expenditures: $98.26 billion (2015 est.)
    26.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 111
    -4.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 156
    45.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
    44.8% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 97
    1 April - 31 March
    4.6% (2015 est.)
    6.1% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 167
    5.75% (31 December 2014)
    7% (31 December 2009)
    country comparison to the world: 69
    9.5% (31 December 2015 est.)
    9.13% (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 87
    $97.33 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    $107.5 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 36
    $172.7 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    $192.9 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 46
    $218.5 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    $245.5 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    $1.007 trillion (31 December 2013)
    $1.038 trillion (31 December 2012)
    $855.7 billion (31 December 2011)
    country comparison to the world: 15
    -$13.67 billion (2015 est.)
    -$19.06 billion (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 182
    $85.14 billion (2015 est.)
    $92.54 billion (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 38
    gold, diamonds, platinum, other metals and minerals, machinery and equipment
    China 9.5%, US 7.1%, Japan 5.3%, Botswana 5.3%, Germany 5%, Namibia 5%, India 4.1% (2014)
    $86.81 billion (2015 est.)
    $98.87 billion (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 35
    machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, scientific instruments, foodstuffs
    China 15.5%, Germany 10.1%, Saudi Arabia 7.2%, US 6.7%, Nigeria 5.2%, India 4.6% (2014)
    $44.28 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    $49.09 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 42
    $145.1 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $137.1 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 43
    $164 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    $157.9 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 35
    $143 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    $135.7 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 28
    rand (ZAR) per US dollar -
    12.63 (2015 est.)
    10.8469 (2014 est.)
    10.8469 (2013 est.)
    8.2 (2012 est.)
    7.2597 (2011 est.)
  • Energy :: SOUTH AFRICA

  • 239 billion kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 19
    211.6 billion kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 19
    13.93 billion kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 15
    9.428 billion kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 23
    44.15 million kW (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 24
    90.4% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 74
    4.4% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 25
    4.5% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 128
    0.7% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    3,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 87
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 185
    414,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 22
    15 million bbl (1 January 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 87
    456,500 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 36
    612,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 32
    81,660 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 50
    137,900 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 40
    1.17 billion cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 64
    4.889 billion cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 59
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 176
    3.771 billion cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 36
    15.01 billion cu m (1 January 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 77
    473.2 million Mt (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 14
  • Communications :: SOUTH AFRICA

  • total subscriptions: 4.3 million
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 8 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 40
    total: 79.5 million
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 150 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 19
    general assessment: the system is the best-developed and most modern in Africa
    domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity is roughly 140 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 submarine cable systems connect South Africa to Europe and Asia; the EASSy fiber-optic cable system connects with Europe and North America; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 2 Atlantic Ocean) (2011)
    the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) operates 4 TV stations, 3 are free-to-air and 1 is pay TV; e.tv, a private station, is accessible to more than half the population; multiple subscription TV services provide a mix of local and international channels; well-developed mix of public and private radio stations at the national, regional, and local levels; the SABC radio network, state-owned and controlled but nominally independent, operates 18 stations, one for each of the 11 official languages, 4 community stations, and 3 commercial stations; more than 100 community-based stations extend coverage to rural areas (2007)
    AM 14, FM 347 (plus 243 repeaters), shortwave 1 (1998)
    556 (plus 144 network repeaters) (1997)
    .za
    4.761 million (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 23
    total: 24.8 million
    percent of population: 46.9% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 24
  • Transportation :: SOUTH AFRICA

  • 566 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 11
    total: 144
    over 3,047 m: 11
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 52
    914 to 1,523 m: 65
    under 914 m: 9 (2013)
    total: 422
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 31
    914 to 1,523 m: 258
    under 914 m: 132 (2013)
    1 (2013)
    condensate 94 km; gas 1,293 km; oil 992 km; refined products 1,460 km (2013)
    total: 20,986 km
    standard gauge: 80 km 1.435-m gauge (80 km electrified)
    narrow gauge: 19,756 km 1.065-m gauge (8,271 km electrified)
    other: 1,150 km (passenger rail, gauge unspecified, 1,115.5 km electrified) (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 14
    total: 747,014 km
    paved: 158,952 km
    unpaved: 588,062 km (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 10
    total: 3
    by type: petroleum tanker 3
    registered in other countries: 19 (Australia 1, Isle of Man 2, Mexico 1, NZ 1, Seychelles 1, Singapore 13) (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 136
    major seaport(s): Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Richards Bay, Saldanha Bay
    container port(s) (TEUs): Durban (2,712,975)
    LNG terminal(s) (import): Mossel Bay
  • Military and Security :: SOUTH AFRICA

  • South African National Defense Force (SANDF): South African Army, South African Navy (SAN), South African Air Force (SAAF), South African Military Health Services (2013)
    18 years of age for voluntary military service; women are eligible to serve in noncombat roles; 2-year service obligation (2012)
    1.2% of GDP (2014)
    1% of GDP (2013)
    1.16% of GDP (2012)
    1.14% of GDP (2011)
    1.16% of GDP (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 100
    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)
  • Transnational Issues :: SOUTH AFRICA

  • South Africa has placed military units to assist police operations along the border of Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique to control smuggling, poaching, and illegal migration; the governments of South Africa and Namibia have not signed or ratified the text of the 1994 Surveyor's General agreement placing the boundary in the middle of the Orange River
    refugees (country of origin): 40,133 (Somalia); 30,125 (Democratic Republic of the Congo); 18,830 (Ethiopia); 6,217 (Zimbabwe); 6,035 (Republic of the Congo) (2014)
    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
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