Statistical information South Africa 1996South%20Africa

Map of South Africa | Geography | People | Government | Economy | Energy | Communication
Military | Transportation | Transnational Issues | Year:  | More stats

South Africa in the World
South Africa in the World

Iberostar Hotels

South Africa - Introduction 1996
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Background: 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.

South Africa - Geography 1996
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Location: Southern Africa, at the southern tip of the continent of Africa

Geographic coordinates

Map reference

Total: 1,219,912 km²
Land: 1,219,912 km²
Comparative: slightly less than twice the size of Texas
Comparative note: Includes Prince Edward Islands (Marion Island and Prince Edward Island)

Land boundaries: Total 4,750 km, 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 fishing 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

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

Natural resources:
Iron ore
Gem diamonds
Natural gas

Land use

Land use
Arable land: 10%
Permanent crops: 1%
Permanent pastures: 65%
Forests and woodland: 3%
Other: 21%

Irrigated land: 11,280 km² (1989 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards


South Africa - People 1996
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41,743,459 (July 1996 est.)
45,095,459 (July 1995 est.)

Growth rate:
1.76% (1996 est.)
2.61% (1995 est.)

Noun: South African(s)
Adjective: South African

Ethnic groups:
Black 75.2%
White 13.6%
Colored 8.6%
Indian 2.6%

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

Religions: Christian (most whites and Coloreds and about 60% of blacks), Hindu (60% of Indians), Muslim 2%

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years:
36% (male 7,578,639; female 7,428,123) (July 1996 est.)
40% (male 9,091,722; female 8,842,764) (July 1995 est.)

15-64 years:
60% (male 12,356,753; female 12,516,467) (July 1996 est.)
56% (male 12,508,039; female 12,825,617) (July 1995 est.)

65 years and over:
4% (male 744,806; female 1,118,671) (July 1996 est.)
4% (male 780,032; female 1,047,285) (July 1995 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate:
1.76% (1996 est.)
2.61% (1995 est.)

Birth rate:
27.91 births/1000 population (1996 est.)
33.39 births/1000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate:
10.32 deaths/1000 population (1996 est.)
7.42 deaths/1000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1000 population (1996 est.)
0.17 migrant(s)/1000 population (1995 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

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
Current issues Natural hazards: prolonged droughts
International agreements: party to_Antarctic Treaty, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling; signed, but not ratified_Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Law of the Sea
International agreements note: South Africa completely surrounds Lesotho and almost completely surrounds Swaziland

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female
All ages:
0.98 male(s)/female (1996 est.) Infant Mortality Rate:48.8 deaths/1000 live births (1996 est.)
45.8 deaths/1000 live births (1995 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 59.47 years (1996 est.), 65.42 years (1995 est.)
Male: 57.21 years (1996 est.), 62.68 years (1995 est.)
Female: 61.8 years (1996 est.), 68.25 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate:
3.43 children born/woman (1996 est.)
4.35 children born/woman (1995 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over that can read and write (1980)
Total population: 81.8%
Male: 81.9%
Female: 81.7%

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

South Africa - Government 1996
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Country name
Conventional long form: Republic of South Africa
Conventional short form: South Africa Abbreviation:RSA

Government type: Republic

Capital: Pretoria (administrative; Cape Town (legislative; Bloemfontein (judicial)

Administrative divisions: 9 provinces; Eastern Cape, Eastern Transvaal, KwaZulu/Natal, Northern Cape, Northern Transvaal, Northwest, Orange Free State, Gauteng, Western Cape

Dependent areas

Independence: 31 May 1910 (from U.K.)

National holiday: Freedom Day, 27 April (1994)

Constitution: 27 April 1994 (interim constitution, replacing the constitution of 3 September 1984; note_on 8 May 1996, the Constitutional Assembly voted 421 to two to pass a new constitution which, after certification by the Constitutional Court, will gradually go into effect over a three-year period and come into full force with the next national elections in April 1999

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

International law organization participation



Executive branch: Chief of state and head of government:Executive President Nelson MANDELA (since 10 May 1994); Deputy Executive President Thabo MBEKI (since 10 May 1994); Deputy Executive President Frederik W. DE KLERK (since 10 May 1994)
Note: Any political party that wins 20% or more of the National Assembly votes in a general election is entitled to name a deputy executive president; moreover, any party that wins 20 or more seats in the National Assembly is entitled to become a member of the governing coalition; currently, the ANC, the IFP, and the NP constitute a Government of National Unity (GNU)
Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the Executive President

Legislative branch: Bicameral National Assembly:Elections last held 26-29 April 1994 (next to be held NA); results_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_(400 total) ANC 252, NP 82, IFP 43, FF 9, DP 7, PAC 5, ACDP 2 Senate:The Senate is composed of members who are nominated by the nine provincial parliaments (which are elected in parallel with the National Assembly) and has special powers to protect regional interests, including the right to limited self-determination for ethnic minorities; seats_(90 total) ANC 61, NP 17, FF 4, IFP 5, DP 3
Note: When the National Assembly meets in joint session with the Senate to consider the provisions of the constitution, the combined group is referred to as the Constitutional Assembly

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: BIS, C, CCC, ECA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, MTCR, NAM, OAU, SACU, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO, ZC

Diplomatic representation

Flag descriptionflag of South%20Africa: Two equal width horizontal bands of red (top) and blue separated by a central green band which splits into a horozontal Y, the arms of which end at the corners of the hoist side, embracing a black isoceles 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 U.K. adjoining on the hoist side and a horizontal flag of the old Transvaal Republic adjoining on the other side

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

South Africa - Economy 1996
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Economy overview: Many of the white one-seventh of the South African population enjoy incomes, material comforts, and health and educational standards equal to those of Western Europe. In contrast, most of the remaining population suffers from the poverty patterns of the Third World, including unemployment and lack of job skills. The main strength of the economy lies in its rich mineral resources, which provide two-thirds of exports. Economic developments for the remainder of the 1990s will be driven largely by the new government's attempts to improve black living conditions, to set the country on an aggressive export-led growth path, and to cut back the enormous numbers of unemployed. The economy in recent years has absorbed less than 5% of the more than 300,000 workers entering the labor force annually. Local economists estimate that the economy must grow between 5% and 6% in real terms annually to absorb all of the new entrants, much less reduce the accumulated total.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate:
3.3% (1995 est.)
2% (1994 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin

Agriculture products: Accounts for about 5% of GDP and 30% of labor force; diversified agriculture, with emphasis on livestock; products_cattle, poultry, sheep, wool, milk, beef, corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables; self-sufficient in food

Mining (world's largest producer of platinum
Automobile assembly
Iron and steel

Industrial production growth rate: Growth rate NA; accounts for about 40% of GDP

Labor force: 14.2 million economically active (1996)
By occupation Services: 35%
By occupation Agriculture: 30%
By occupation Industry: 20%
By occupation Mining: 9%
By occupation Other: 6%
Labor force

Unemployment rate:
32.6% (1996 est.); an additional 11% underemployment
32.6% (1994 est.); an additional 11% underemployment

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $30.5 billion (FY94/95 est.), $26.3 billion (FY93/94 est.)
Expenditures: $38 billion, including capital expenditures of $2.6 billion (FY94/95 est.), $34 billion, including capital expenditures of $2.5 billion (FY93/94 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: 1 April_31 March

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

total value. $27.9 billion (f.o.b., 1995)
$25.3 billion (f.o.b., 1994)

Gold 27%
Other minerals and metals 20%-25%
Food 5%
Chemicals 3% (1994)

Other EU countries
Hong Kong

Total value:
$27 billion (f.o.b., 1995)
$21.4 billion (f.o.b., 1994)

Machinery 32%
Transport equipment 15%
Chemicals 11%
Scientific instruments


Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external:
$22 billion (1995 est.)
$18 billion (1994 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Rand (R) per US$1_3.6417 (January 1996), 3.6266 (1995), 3.5490 (1994), 3.2636 (1993), 2.8497 (1992), 2.7563 (1991), 2.5863 (1990)

South Africa - Energy 1996
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Electricity access

Electricity production

Electricity consumption: 163 billion kWh
Per capita: 3,482 kWh (1993)

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

South Africa - Communication 1996
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: Over 5,206,235 telephones (1993 est.); 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; nationwide GSM mobile phone system
International: 1 submarine cable; 3 INTELSAT (1 Indian Ocean and 2 Atlantic Ocean) earth stations

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

South Africa - Military 1996
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $2.9 billion, 2.2% of GDP (FY95/96), $3.2 billion, 2.8% of GDP (FY93/94)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

South Africa - Transportation 1996
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 667
With paved runways over 3047 m: 10
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 4
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 33
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 280 (1995 est.)
With paved runways under 914 m: 221

Airports with paved runways
Over 3047 m: 10
2438 to 3047 m: 4
15-24 to 2437 m: 33
914 to 1523 m: 280 (1995 est.)
Under 914 m: 221

Airports with unpaved runways


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




Merchant marine: total:4 container ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 211,276 GRT/198,602 DWT

Ports and terminals

South Africa - Transnational issues 1996
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Disputes international

Refugees and internally displaced persons

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


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