Overview: South Africa


66.4% of total Population (2018)
Rate of urbanization: 1.97% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Population growth: 0.99% (2017 est.)

Ethnic groups
Black African 80.2%, white 8.4%, colored 8.8%, Indian/Asian 2.5%

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 est.)

Age structure: 0-14 years: 28.27% (male 7,768,960/female 7,733,706); 15-24 years: 17.61% (male 4,776,096/female 4,881,962); 25-54 years: 41.78% (male 11,589,099/female 11,323,869); 55-64 years: 6.66% (male 1,694,904/female 1,955,391); 65 years and over: 5.68% (male 1,309,597/female 1,807,968) (2017 est.)

Dependency: Total dependency ratio: 52.5; youth dependency ratio: 44.8; elderly dependency ratio: 7.7; and potential support ratio: 12.9 (2015 est.)

Refugees and internally displaced persons
Refugees (country of origin): 28,695 (Somalia); 17,776 (Ethiopia); 5,394 (Republic of the Congo) (2016); 58,774 (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (refugees and asylum seekers) (2018)

Area: Total: 1,219,090 sq km; land: 1,214,470 sq km; water: 4,620 sq km

Irrigated land: 16,700 sq km (2012)

Physicians density
0.82 physicians/1,000 Population (2016)

Health expenditure
8.8% of GDP (2014)

Education expenditure
5.9% of GDP (2016)

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write; total population: 94.4%; Male: 95.4%; and female: 93.4% (2015 est.)

Unemployment youth ages: Total: 53.5%; Male: 49.3%; and female: 58.7% (2017 est.)

Government type
Parliamentary Republic

Administrative divisions
9 provinces; Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North West, Western Cape)

Independence Day
31 May 1910 (Union of South Africa formed from four British colonies: Cape Colony, Natal, Transvaal, and Orange Free State); 22 August 1934 (Status of the Union Act); 31 May 1961 (republic declared); 27 April 1994 (majority rule

History: latest drafted 8 May 1996, approved by Constitutional Court 4 December 1996, effective 4 February 1997

Amendments: passage of amendments affecting constitutional sections on human rights and freedoms, non-racism and non-sexism, supremacy of the constitution, suffrage, the multi-party system of democratic government, and amendment procedures requires at least 75% majority vote of the Assembly, approval by at least six of the nine provinces represented in the National Council of Provinces, and assent by the president of the republic

Legal system
Mixed legal system of Roman-Dutch civil law, English common law, and customary law

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

Legislative branch
Description: National Council of Provinces (90 seats; 10-member delegations appointed by each of the 9 provincial legislatures to serve 5-year terms; note – the Council has special powers to protect regional interests, including safeguarding cultural and linguistic traditions among ethnic minorities

Elections: last held on 7 May 2014 (next to be held in 2019

Election results: 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

Executive branch
Chief of state: President Matamela Cyril RAMAPHOSA (since 15 February 2018); Deputy President David MABUZA (26 February 2018

Head of government: President Matamela Cyril RAMAPHOSA (since 15 February 2018); deputy president David MABUZA (26 February 2018

Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president

Elections/appointments: last held on 15 February 2018 to elect Cyril RAMAPHOSA as acting president to replace ZUMA for the remainder of his term (next to be held in May 2019

Election results: Matamela Cyril RAMAPHOSA (ANC) elected president by the National Assembly unopposed

Judiciary Branch
Highest court(s): Supreme Court of Appeals (consists of the court president, deputy president, and 21 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

Subordinate courts: High Courts; Magistrates’ Courts; labor courtsclaims courts

Exports commodities
gold, diamonds, platinum, other metals and minerals, machinery and equipment

Exports partners
China 9.5%, US 7.7%, Germany 7.1%, Japan 4.7%, India 4.6%, Botswana 4.3%, Namibia 4.1% (2017)

Imports commodities
machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, scientific instruments, foodstuffs

Imports partners
China 18.3%, Germany 11.9%, US 6.6%, Saudi Arabia 4.7%, India 4.7% (2017)

Electricity access:
Population without electricity: 7,700,000
Electrification – total population: 85%:
Electrification – urban areas: 90%: and
Electrification – rural areas: 77% (2013)

Internet users: Total: 29,322,380; and percent of population: 54.0% (July 2016 est.)

Source: CIA World Factbook

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