Size
1,219,090 km2

Key economic sectors
Mining services and transport, energy, manufacturing, tourism, agriculture

Population
49.32 million (mid-2009)

Estimates by population group and gender

Population
group

Male

Female

Total

Number

% of total
population

Number

% of total
population

Number

% of total
population

Black

18 901 000

79,2

20 235 200

79,5

39 136 200

79,3

Coloured

2 137 300

9,0

2 295 800

9,0

4 433 100

9,0

Indian/Asian

635 700

2,6

643 400

2,5

1 279 100

2,6

White

2 194 700

9,2

2 277 400

9,0

4 472 100

9,1

Total

23 868 700

100,0

25 451 800

100,0

49 320 500

100,0

Source: Mid-Year Population Estimates, 2009

Official languages

  • English
  • isiZulu
  • isiXhosa
  • isiNdebele
  • Afrikaans
  • siSwati
  • Sesotho sa Leboa
  • Sesotho
  • Setswana
  • Tshivenda
  • Xitsonga

Mother tongues

isiZulu

23,8%

Sesotho

7,9%

IsiXhosa

17,6%

Xitsonga

4,4%

Afrikaans

13,3%

siSwati

2,7%

Sesotho sa Leboa

9,4%

Tsivenda

2,3%

English

8,2%

isiNdebele

1,6%

Setswana

8,2%

Other

0,5%

Source: Census 2001

Although English is the mother tongue of only 8,2% of the population, it is the language most widely understood, and the second language of the majority of South Africans.

Government
Constitutional multiparty, three-tier (local, provincial, national) democracy.

Capitals

  • Pretoria (administrative)
  • Cape Town (legislative)
  • Bloemfontein (judicial)

Provinces

  • Western Cape
  • Eastern Cape
  • KwaZulu-Natal
  • Northern Cape
  • Free State
  • North West
  • Gauteng
  • Mpumalanga
  • Limpopo

Currency
Rand (ZAR). 100 cents equals one rand

Time
GMT +2 hours

Distances

  • Cape Town to Johannesburg 1 400 km (880 miles)
  • Johannesburg to Durban 600 km (380 miles)
  • Port Elizabeth to Bloemfontein 700 km (440 miles)

See more distances

Transportation
Excellent roads, rail and air facilities (both domestic and international)

Telecommunications
World-class infrastructure. Internet access is widely available. There are four mobile (cellular) networks.

Value-added tax
Levied at 14%. Tourists may apply for tax refunds on purchases over R250 on departure.

Health
Top-quality healthcare is available throughout the country, although basic in rural areas.

Inoculations are only required for those travelling from yellow-fever areas. Malaria precautions are necessary in some areas.

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