South Africa: Fact file

Updated November 2010

Name Republic of South Africa
Area 1 219 090 sq km2
Capitals Tshwane (Pretoria, executive), Cape Town (legislative), Mangaung (Bloemfontein, judicial)
Major cities Johannesburg, eThekwini (Durban), Ekurhuleni (East Rand), Nelson Mandela (Port Elizabeth), Buffalo City (East London), Pietermaritzburg, Vereeniging, Vanderbijlpark
Boundaries Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho (enclave)
Population 50.492 million, 2010 est (UN Statistics Division 2009a)
Natural pop growth 0.98%, 2005-2010 est (UN Statistics Division 2009b)
Urbanisation 60.2%, 2007 est (UN Statistics Division undated)
Life expectancy Female 53.2 yrs, male 49.9 yrs; 2005-2010 est (UN Statistics Division 2009c, 2009d)
Infant mortality 49/1000, 2005-2010 est (UN Statistics Division 2009e)
HIV/AIDS prevalence 18.1%, 15-49 yr 2007 est (UN Statistics Division 2009f)
Adult literacy rate 88%; 2003-2008 est (UN Statistics Division 2010a)
Military expenditure 1.5% of GDP; 2008 (UN Statistics Division 2010b)
Health expenditure 8.0% of GDP; 2006 (UN Statistics Division 2008)
Legal system Roman-Dutch law, English common law (Barratt & Snyman 2005)
Independence 31 May 1910 from Great Britain
GDP US$276.8 billion, 2008 est (UN Statistics Division 2010c)
GDP per capita US$5,566, 2008 est (UN Statistics Division 2009g)
GDP growth rate 3.1%, 2008 est (UN Statistics Division 2010d)
Main exports Platinum, gold, diamonds, base metals, minerals, fruit, machinery (Frame 2008, 1100)
Currency 1 Rand = 100 cents
Unemployment Narrow 24.3%, broad 40%, 2009 (AFDB/OECD 2010)
Inflation rate 10.8%, 2008 (UN Statistics Division 2010e)
External debt ratio 1.8% of GDP, 2009 (IMF 2010, 95)
Roads Total 202 263 km (35% poor), paved 74 567 km (20% poor), unpaved 127 697 km (44% poor); 2008 (World Bank 2009)
Rail 30 400 km (SADC 2007, 221)
Airports 10 major domestic, 3 international (Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban) (SADC 2007, 221).
Ethnic groups African 79.3%, White 9.1%, Coloured 9.0% and Indian/Asian 2.6% (South African Government undated)
Languages Official: isiZulu (23.8%), isiXhosa (17.6%), Afrikaans (13.3%), Sepedi (9.4%), Setswana (8.2%), English (8.2%), Sesotho (7.9%), Xitsonga (4.4%), siSwati (2.7%), Tshivenda (2.3%) and isiNdebele (1.6%). Other languages are spoken by 0.5% of the population (Statistics South Africa 2001)
Religion Christian 79.8%, no religion 15.1%, Islam 1.5% and Hinduism 1.2% (South African Government undated)

References

AFDB/OECD 2010 "South Africa" IN African Economic Outlook, [www] http://www.africaneconomicoutlook.org/en/countries/southern-africa/south-africa/ [opens new window] (accessed 25 Nov 2010).

BARRATT, A & SNYMAN, P 2005 "Researching South African Law" IN GlobaLex, [www] http://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/South_Africa.htm [opens new window] (accessed 25 Nov 2010).

FRAME, I 2008 (ed) Africa South of the Sahara 2008, Routledge.

IMF 2010 Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa, October, [www] http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/reo/2010/AFR/eng/pdf/sreo1010.pdf, [PDF document, opens new window] (accessed 25 Nov 2010).

SADC 2007 "South Africa" IN Country Profiles, [www] http://www.sadcreview.com/pdfs07/southafrica2007_08.pdf (offline 25 Nov 2010).

STATISTICS SOUTH AFRICA 2001 "Dominant Home Language", [www] http://www.statssa.gov.za/census2001/digiAtlas/stats/stats_langdom_national.html [opens new window] (accessed 25 Nov 2010).

SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT UNDATED "South Africa's people", http://www.info.gov.za/aboutsa/people.htm [opens new window] (accessed 25 Nov 2010).

UN STATISTICS DIVISION 2009a "Total population, both sexes combined" IN UNdata, 18 Jun, [www] http://data.un.org/Data.aspx?q=Population&d=PopDiv&f=variableID%3a12 [opens new window] (accessed 25 Nov 2010).

UN STATISTICS DIVISION 2009b "Population growth rate" IN UNdata, 18 Jun, [www] http://data.un.org/Data.aspx?q=Population&d=PopDiv&f=variableID%3a47 [opens new window] (accessed 25 Nov 2010).

UN STATISTICS DIVISION 2009c "Life expectancy at birth, females" IN UNdata, 18 Jun, [www] http://data.un.org/Data.aspx?q=Life+expectancy&d=PopDiv&f=variableID%3a67 [opens new window] (accessed 25 Nov 2010).

UN STATISTICS DIVISION 2009d "Life expectancy at birth, males" IN UNdata, 18 Jun, [www] http://data.un.org/Data.aspx?q=Life+expectancy&d=PopDiv&f=variableID%3a66 [opens new window] (accessed 25 Nov 2010).

UN STATISTICS DIVISION 2009e "Infant mortality rate" IN UNdata, [www] http://data.un.org/Data.aspx?q=MExico&d=PopDiv&f=variableID%3A77%3BcrID%3A484 [opens new window] (accessed 25 Nov 2010).

UN STATISTICS DIVISION 2009f "Adult HIV/AIDS prevalence rate" IN UNdata, [www] http://data.un.org/Data.aspx?q=HIV%2fAIDS+prevalence&d=SOWC&f=inID%3a73 [opens new window] (accessed 25 Nov 2010).

UN STATISTICS DIVISION 2009g "Per capita GDP at current prices" IN UNdata, [www] http://data.un.org/Data.aspx?q=GDP&d=SNAAMA&f=grID%3a101%3bcurrID%3aUSD%3bpcFlag%3a1 [opens new window] (accessed 25 Nov 2010).

UN STATISTICS DIVISION 2010a "Adult literacy rate" IN UNdata, 14 Ju, [www] http://data.un.org/Data.aspx?q=Adult+literacy&d=SOWC&f=inID%3a74 [opens new window] (accessed 25 Nov 2010).

UN STATISTICS DIVISION 2010b "Military expenditure" IN UNdata, 12 Feb, [www] http://data.un.org/Data.aspx?q=GDP&d=WDI&f=Indicator_Code%3AMS.MIL.XPND.GD.ZS [opens new window] (accessed 25 Nov 2010).

UN STATISTICS DIVISION 2010c "GDP" IN UNdata, 12 Feb, [www] http://data.un.org/Data.aspx?q=GDP&d=WDI&f=Indicator_Code%3aNY.GDP.MKTP.CD [opens new window] (accessed 25 Nov 2010).

UN STATISTICS DIVISION 2010d "GDP growth" IN UNdata, 12 Feb, [www] http://data.un.org/Data.aspx?q=GDP&d=WDI&f=Indicator_Code%3aNY.GDP.MKTP.KD.ZG [opens new window] (accessed 25 Nov 2010).

UN STATISTICS DIVISION 2010e "Inflation, GDP deflator" IN UNdata, 12 Feb, [www] http://data.un.org/Data.aspx?q=Inflation&d=WDI&f=Indicator_Code%3aNY.GDP.DEFL.KD.ZG [opens new window] (accessed 25 Nov 2010).

UN STATISTICS DIVISION 2010f "Total expenditure on health as percentage of gross domestic product" IN UNdata, 19 Nov, [www] http://data.un.org/Data.aspx?q=health+expenditure&d=WHO&f=MEASURE_CODE%3aWHS7_143 [opens new window] (accessed 23 Nov 2010).

UN STATISTICS DIVISION UNDATED "South Africa", [www] http://data.un.org/CountryProfile.aspx?crName=South%20Africa [opens new window] (accessed 25 Nov 2010).

WORLD BANK 2009 "Development Data Platform" IN Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic [www] http://www.infrastructureafrica.org/aicd/tools/data [opens new window] (accessed 25 Nov 2010).

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