President: Jacob Zuma (2009)
Total area: 471,008 sq mi (1,219,912 sq km)
Population (2014 est.): 48,375,645 (growth rate: –0.48%); birth rate: 18.94/1000; infant mortality rate: 41.61/1000; life expectancy: 49.56; density per sq mi: 109.8
Administrative capital (2011 est.): Pretoria, 1.501 million; Legislative capital and largest city: Cape Town, 3.562 million. Judicial capital: Bloemfontein, 468,000. No decision has been made to relocate the seat of government. South Africa is demarcated into nine provinces, consisting of the Gauteng, Northern Province, Mpumalanga, North West, KwaZulu/Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Northern Cape, and Free State. Each province has its own capital.
Other large cities: Johannesburg, 3.844 million; Ekurhuleni, 3.357 million; Durban, 3.012 million (2011).
Monetary unit: Rand
Languages: IsiZulu 22.7%, IsiXhosa 16%, Afrikaans 13.5%, Sepedi 9.1%, English 9.6%, Setswana 8%, Sesotho 7.6%, Xitsonga 4.5%, siSwati 2.5%, Tshivenda 2.4%, isiNdebele 2.1%, other 1.6% (2011)
Ethnicity/race: black African 79.2%, white 8.9%, colored 8.9%, Indian/Asian 2.5%, other 0.5% (2011)
Religions: 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)
Literacy rate: 93% (2011 est.)
Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2013 est.): $595.7 billion; per capita $11,500. Real growth rate: 2%. Inflation: 5.8%. Unemployment: 24.9%. Arable land: 9.87%. Agriculture: corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables; beef, poultry, mutton, wool, dairy products. Labor force: 18.54 million (2013 est.); agriculture 9%, industry 26%, services 65% (2007 est.). Industries: mining (world’s largest producer of platinum, gold, chromium), automobile assembly, metalworking, machinery, textiles, iron and steel, chemicals, fertilizer, foodstuffs, commercial ship repair. Natural resources: gold, chromium, antimony, coal, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, tin, rare earth elements, uranium, gem diamonds, platinum, copper, vanadium, salt, natural gas. Exports: $91.05 billion (2013 est.): gold, diamonds, platinum, other metals and minerals, machinery and equipment. Imports: $99.55 billion (2013 est.): machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, scientific instruments, foodstuffs. Major trading partners: U.S., Japan, Germany, China, India, Saudi Arabia (2012).
Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 4.03 million (2012); mobile cellular: 68.4 million (2012). Radio broadcast stations: AM 14, FM 347 (plus 243 repeaters), shortwave 1 (2007). Radios: 17 million (2001). Television broadcast stations: 556 (plus 144 network repeaters) (1997). Televisions: 6 million (2000). Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 4.761 million (2012). Internet users: 4.42 million (2009).
Transportation: Railways: total: 20,192 km (2008). Highways: total: 364,131 km; paved: 62,995 km (including 254 km of expressways); unpaved: 301,136 km (2002). Ports and harbors: Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Richards Bay, Saldanha Bay. Airports: 566 (2013).
- It occupies an area nearly three times that of California.
- The world’s first successful heart transplant was performed in Cape Town.
- The two biggest man-made holes in the world were excavated in South Africa.
- The country boasts the world’s second-highest waterfall.
- South Africa is the only country in the world where right-hand drive cars are produced by Mercedes Benz.
- Rovos Rail is the most lavish train in the world
- Two-thirds of Africa’s electricity is generated in South Africa
- Most of the world’s macadamia nuts come from South Africa.
- The world’s largest bird, the ostrich, is found here.
- South Africa is home to the tallest animal in the world, the giraffe.