South Africa Country Overview

South Africa Country Overview

South Africa is a presidential republic in the southernmost part of Africa with Pretoria (in Setswana: Tshwane) as its capital. The coastal state with a warm climate meets the Atlantic Ocean in the west and the Indian Ocean in the south and south-east. Bounded by the large edge step, the landscape is characterized by wide plateaus that descend in the north to the Kalahari Basin. In the north-west with little precipitation, semi-deserts predominate, on the highlands grasslands and savannahs and on the south-east coast tropical forests. The flora and fauna, some of which are protected in national parks, are rich in species. The black majority belongs to the Bantu peoples. The white minority is mostly of Dutch or British origin. There are also colored, Descendants from connections between the first Dutch settlers and the indigenous population, and Indians as descendants of Indian plantation workers. Of the eleven national languages, English and Afrikaans are the most important. The vast majority of people belong to Christian communities. High unemployment, unequal material distribution, growing violent crime and a high HIV rate are a burden on the social fabric. Before European seafarers reached South Africa in the 17th century, various Bantu peoples lived there alongside the indigenous people of the San and Khoikhoin. The country’s abundance of raw materials attracted many Dutch, Germans and Huguenots, the later Boers, who acted ruthlessly against the black population. In 1814 South Africa became a British crown colony. In 1931 the country declared its independence and established the apartheid system of racial segregation, which gave whites massive supremacy. It was not until 1994 that N. Mandela succeeded under the leadership. Since then, the country has been striving for social integration and an economic turnaround that takes all population groups into account. South Africa is the most industrialized country in Africa and, with its deposits of gold, platinum, iron ore and coal, is one of the most important mining nations in the world. In terms of foreign policy, the regional power is committed to stability in southern Africa and is the only African member of the G20.


According to trackaah, the Republic of South Africa is administratively divided into nine provinces and subsequently into eight metropolitan municipalities and 44 districts. Each province has its own parliament, which elects the respective head of government (prime minister) and has legislative powers (e.g. in the areas of agriculture, culture, health care, environmental and nature protection, regional planning and development, tourism, trade and industry promotion).

Administrative division in South Africa

South Africa: Administrative Division (2015)
province Area (in km 2) Population Residents (per km 2) capital city
free State 129 825 2,817,900 22nd Bloemfontein
Gauteng 18 178 13 200 300 726 Johannesburg
KwaZulu-Natal 94 361 10 919 100 116 Pietermaritzburg
Limpopo 125 754 5 726 800 46 Polokwane
Mpumalanga 76 495 4,283,900 56 Nelspruit
North Cape 372 889 1 185 600 3 Kimberley
Northwest 104 882 3,707,000 35 Mafikeng
Eastern Cape 168 966 6,916,200 41 Bisho
Western cape 129 462 6 200 100 48 Cape Town


The South African civil jurisdiction is basically structured in three stages. At the head of the judicial organization is the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein. Subordinate to this is the High Court (formerly also known as the Supreme Court) with departments (divisions) that each exercise jurisdiction for a region or area. Organizationally assigned to the High Court are the circuit courts with jurisdiction over rural areas. The Magistrates’ Courts have significant competences at the entrance level; traditional local courts (Community Courts, Courts for Chiefs and Headmen) are equally important for certain matters. There are also small claims courts.

The law is largely not codified and is essentially based on principles of Roman law with Dutch character (Roman-Dutch Law) as well as on English common law; the influence of the latter is different in the different parts of the country and in relation to individual matters. There are also national laws. At the local level, traditional customary law also plays a role, which is accepted by the state but must not violate constitutional principles.


Freedom of the press is guaranteed. Radio and television are the main mass media. The newspaper market is dominated by a few companies.

Press: In contrast to weekly newspapers, daily newspapers usually only have regional distribution. The newspapers with the highest circulation are “The Star” (founded in 1887), “Sowetan” (founded 1981, English), “The Times” (founded 2007, English) and “Beeld” (founded 1974, Afrikaans) as well as the tabloids “Daily Sun” (English) and “Die Son” (Afrikaans). »Isolezwe« is the most important daily newspaper in KwaZulu / Natal (Zulu). The oldest newspaper still published is “The Herald” in Port Elizabeth (founded 1845, English). The largest weekly newspaper is »The Sunday Times« – news agency: South African Press Association (SAPA), supported by the newspaper publishers.

Broadcasting: The public service South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC, founded in 1936) broadcasts radio programs in the eleven official national languages ​​over 18 stations. There are also a large number of private and local radio stations. SABC operates three national television channels. The largest private broadcasters are “” and “M-Net” (Pay TV) as well as the digital satellite channels “DStv” (Multichoice) and “Star Sat”.

Digitization: When it comes to digital infrastructure, South Africa has the best facilities compared to other countries on the African continent.

South Africa Country Overview