South Africa

Introduction Dutch traders landed at the southern tip of modern day South Africa in 1652 and established a stopover point on the spice route between the Netherlands and the East, founding the city of Cape Town. 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); however, the British and the Afrikaners, as the Boers became known, ruled together under the Union of South Africa. In 1948, the National Party was voted into power and instituted a policy of apartheid - the separate development of the races. The first multi-racial elections in 1994 brought an end to apartheid and ushered in black majority rule.
History

Pre history

South Africa contains some of the oldest archaeological sites in the world. Extensive fossil remains at the Sterkfontein, Kromdraai and Makapansgat caves suggest that various australopithecines existed in South Africa from about three million years ago. These were succeeded by various species of Homo, including Homo habilis, Homo erectus and modern humans, Homo sapiens. Settlements of Bantu-speaking peoples, who were iron-using agriculturists and herdsmen, were already present south of the Limpopo River by the fourth or fifth century (see Bantu expansion) displacing and absorbing the original KhoiSan speakers. They slowly moved south and the earliest ironworks in modern-day KwaZulu-Natal Province are believed to date from around 1050. The southernmost group was the Xhosa people, whose language incorporates certain linguistic traits from the earlier KhoiSan people, reaching the Fish River, in today's Eastern Cape Province. These Iron Age populations displaced earlier people, who often had hunter-gatherer societies, as they migrated.

European colonisation

In 1487, the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias became the first European to reach the southernmost point of Africa. Initially named The Cape of Storms, The King of Portugal, John II, renamed it the Cabo da Boa Esperança or Cape of Good Hope as it led to the riches of India. This great feat of navigation was later immortalized in Camoens' epic Portuguese poem, The Lusiads (1572). In 1652, a refreshment station was established at the Cape of Good Hope by Jan van Riebeeck on behalf of the Dutch East India Company. Slaves were brought from Indonesia, Madagascar, and India as a labour source for the Dutch immigrants in Cape Town. As they expanded east, the Dutch settlers eventually met the south-westerly expanding Xhosa people in the region of the Fish River. A series of wars, called the Cape Frontier Wars, ensued, mainly caused by conflicting land and livestock interests.

Great Britain took over the Cape of Good Hope area in 1795 ostensibly to stop it falling into the hands of the Revolutionary French, but also seeking to use Cape Town in particular as a stop on the route to Australia and India. It was later returned to the Dutch in 1803, but soon afterwards the Dutch East India Company declared bankruptcy, and the British annexed the Cape Colony in 1806. The British continued the frontier wars against the Xhosa, pushing the eastern frontier eastward through a line of forts established along the Fish River and consolidating it by encouraging British settlement. Due to pressure of abolitionist societies in Britain, the British parliament first stopped its global slave trade in 1807, then abolished slavery in all its colonies in 1833. During the 1830s, approximately 12 000 Boers (later known as Voortrekkers), departed from the Cape Colony, where they were subjected to British control, to the future Natal, Orange Free State and Transvaal regions. The Boers founded the Boer Republics - the South African Republic (Now Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West provinces) and the Orange Free State (Free State).

The discovery of diamonds in 1867 and gold in 1884 in the interior encouraged economic growth and immigration, intensifying the subjugation of the indigenous people. These important economic resources did not only play a role between European and the indigenous population but also between the Boers and the British.[14]

The Boer Republics successfully resisted British encroachments during the First Boer War (1880–1881) using guerrilla warfare tactics, much better suited to local conditions. However, the British returned in greater numbers, more experience, and more suitable tactics in the Second Boer War (1899–1902). The Boers' attempt to ally themselves with German South-West Africa provided the British with yet another excuse to take control of the Boer Republics.

Independence

After four years of negotiating, the Union of South Africa was created from the Cape and Natal colonies, as well as the republics of Orange Free State and Transvaal, on 31 May 1910, exactly eight years after the end of the Second Boer War. The newly created Union of South Africa was a dominion. The Natives' Land Act of 1913 severely restricted the ownership of land by 'blacks', at that stage to a mere 7% of the country, although this amount was eventually increased marginally. The union was effectively granted independence from the United Kingdom with the passage of the Statute of Westminster, which morphed the British king's position within South Africa into that of the distinct King of South Africa. In 1934, the South African Party and National Party merged to form the United Party, seeking reconciliation between Afrikaners and English-speaking "Whites", but split in 1939 over the entry of the Union into World War II as an ally of the United Kingdom, a move which the National Party strongly opposed.

In 1948, the National Party was elected to power, and intensified the implementation of racial segregation that had begun under Dutch and British colonial rule, and subsequent South African governments since the Union was formed. The Nationalist Government systematised existing segregationist laws, and the system of segregation became known collectively as apartheid. Not surprisingly, this segregation also applied to the wealth acquired during rapid industrialisation of the 1950s, '60s, and '70s. While the White minority enjoyed the highest standard of living in all of Africa, often comparable to First World western nations, the Black majority remained disadvantaged by almost every standard, including income, education, housing, and life expectancy. On 31 May 1961, following a whites-only referendum, the country became a republic and left the Commonwealth. The office of Governor-General was abolished and replaced with the position of State President.

Apartheid became increasingly controversial, leading to widespread sanctions and divestment abroad and growing unrest and oppression within South Africa. (See also the article on the History of South Africa in the apartheid era.) A long period of harsh suppression by the government, and at times violent resistance, strikes, marches, protests, and sabotage by bombing and other means, by various anti-apartheid movements, most notably the African National Congress (ANC), followed. In the late 1970s, South Africa began a programme of nuclear weapons, and in the following decade it produced six deliverable nuclear weapons. The rationale for the nuclear arsenal is disputed, but it is believed[who?] that Vorster and P.W. Botha wanted to be able to catalyse American intervention in the event of a war between South Africa and the Cuban-supported MPLA government of Angola.

Democracy

In 1990 the National Party government took the first step towards negotiating itself out of power when it lifted the ban on the African National Congress and other left-wing political organisations, and released Nelson Mandela from prison after twenty-seven years' incarceration on a sabotage sentence. Apartheid legislation was gradually removed from the statute books, and South Africa also destroyed its nuclear arsenal and acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The first multi-racial elections were held in 1994, which the ANC won by an overwhelming majority. It has been in power ever since.

In post-apartheid South Africa, millions of South Africans, mostly black, continued to live in poverty, though poverty among whites, previously rare, has increased greatly. While some have partly attributed this to the legacy of the apartheid system, increasingly many attribute it to the failure of the current government to tackle social issues, coupled with the monetary and fiscal discipline of the current government to ensure both redistribution of wealth and economic growth. Since the ANC-led government took power, the United Nations Human Development Index of South Africa has fallen, while it was steadily rising until the mid-1990s. Some of this could possibly be attributed to the AIDS pandemic and the failure of the government to take steps to address it,some of it can also be pinpointed to a government policy of redistribution of wealth. As a mitigating factor, the social housing policy of the current government has produced an improvement in living conditions.

Geography Location: Southern Africa, at the southern tip of the continent of Africa
Geographic coordinates: 29 00 S, 24 00 E
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 1,219,912 sq km
land: 1,219,912 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes Prince Edward Islands (Marion Island and Prince Edward Island)
Area - comparative: slightly less than twice the size of Texas
Land boundaries: total: 4,862 km
border countries: Botswana 1,840 km, Lesotho 909 km, Mozambique 491 km, Namibia 967 km, Swaziland 430 km, Zimbabwe 225 km
Coastline: 2,798 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to edge of the continental margin
Climate: mostly semiarid; subtropical along east coast; sunny days, cool nights
Terrain: vast interior plateau rimmed by rugged hills and narrow coastal plain
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Njesuthi 3,408 m
Natural resources: gold, chromium, antimony, coal, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, tin, uranium, gem diamonds, platinum, copper, vanadium, salt, natural gas
Land use: arable land: 12.1%
permanent crops: 0.79%
other: 87.11% (2005)
Irrigated land: 14,980 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 50 cu km (1990)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 12.5 cu km/yr (31%/6%/63%)
per capita: 264 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: prolonged droughts
Environment - current issues: lack of important arterial rivers or lakes requires extensive water conservation and control measures; growth in water usage outpacing supply; pollution of rivers from agricultural runoff and urban discharge; air pollution resulting in acid rain; soil erosion; desertification
Environment - international agreements: party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: South Africa completely surrounds Lesotho and almost completely surrounds Swaziland
Politics

South Africa has three capital cities: Cape Town, the largest of the three, is the legislative capital; Pretoria is the administrative capital; and Bloemfontein is the judicial capital. South Africa has a bicameral parliament: the National Council of Provinces (the upper house) has 90 members, while the National Assembly (the lower house) has 400 members. Members of the lower house are elected on a population basis by proportional representation: half of the members are elected from national lists and the other half are elected from provincial lists. Ten members are elected to represent each province in the National Council of Provinces, regardless of the population of the province. Elections for both chambers are held every five years. The government is formed in the lower house, and the leader of the majority party in the National Assembly is the President.

The primary sources of South Africa law are Roman-Dutch mercantile law and personal law with English Common law, as imports of Dutch settlements and British colonialism. The first European based law in South Africa was brought by the Dutch East India Company and is called Roman-Dutch law. It was imported before the codification of European law into the Napoleonic Code and is comparable in many ways to Scots law. This was followed in the 19th century by English law, both common and statutory. Starting in 1910 with unification, South Africa had its own parliament which passed laws specific for South Africa, building on those previously passed for the individual member colonies.

Current South African politics are dominated by the African National Congress (ANC), which received 69.7% of the vote during the last 2004 general election and 66.3% of the vote in the 2006 municipal election. The current President of South Africa is Kgalema Motlanthe, who replaced Thabo Mbeki on 25 September 2008. Mbeki succeeded former President Nelson Mandela in 1999, and was re-elected for a second five year term in 2004, but announced his resignation on 20 September 2008.

The main challenger to the rule of the ANC is the Democratic Alliance party, which received 12.4% of the vote in the 2004 election and 14.8% in the 2006 election. Helen Zille, (elected 6 May 2007), is the party leader; the previous leader was Tony Leon. The formerly dominant New National Party, which introduced apartheid through its predecessor, the National Party, chose to merge with the ANC on 9 April 2005. Other major political parties represented in Parliament are the Inkatha Freedom Party, which mainly represents Zulu voters, and the Independent Democrats, who took 6.97% and 1.7% of the vote respectively, in the 2004 election.

Since 2004, the country has had many thousands of popular protests, some violent, making it, according to one academic, the "most protest-rich country in the world". Many of these protests have been organised from the growing shanty towns that surround South African cities.

People Population: 48,782,756
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 29.2% (male 7,147,151/female 7,120,183)
15-64 years: 65.5% (male 16,057,340/female 15,889,750)
65 years and over: 5.3% (male 1,050,287/female 1,518,044) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 24.2 years
male: 23.8 years
female: 24.6 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.828% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 20.23 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 16.94 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: 4.98 migrant(s)/1,000 population
note: there is an increasing flow of Zimbabweans into South Africa and Botswana in search of better economic opportunities (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 45.11 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 49.47 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 40.65 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 48.89 years
male: 49.63 years
female: 48.15 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.43 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 21.5% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 5.3 million (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 370,000 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever and malaria
water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2008)
Nationality: noun: South African(s)
adjective: South African
Ethnic groups: black African 79%, white 9.6%, colored 8.9%, Indian/Asian 2.5% (2001 census)
Religions: Zion Christian 11.1%, Pentecostal/Charismatic 8.2%, Catholic 7.1%, Methodist 6.8%, Dutch Reformed 6.7%, Anglican 3.8%, Muslim 1.5%, other Christian 36%, other 2.3%, unspecified 1.4%, none 15.1% (2001 census)
Languages: IsiZulu 23.8%, IsiXhosa 17.6%, Afrikaans 13.3%, Sepedi 9.4%, English 8.2%, Setswana 8.2%, Sesotho 7.9%, Xitsonga 4.4%, other 7.2% (2001 census)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.4%
male: 87%
female: 85.7% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2004)
Education expenditures: 5.4% of GDP (2006)
Government Country name: conventional long form: Republic of South Africa
conventional short form: South Africa
former: Union of South Africa
abbreviation: RSA
Government type: republic
Capital: name: Pretoria (administrative capital)
geographic coordinates: 25 42 S, 28 13 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
note: Cape Town (legislative capital); Bloemfontein (judicial capital)
Administrative divisions: 9 provinces; Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North-West, Western Cape
Independence: 31 May 1910 (Union of South Africa formed from four British colonies: Cape Colony, Natal, Transvaal, and Orange Free State); 31 May 1961 (republic declared) 27 April 1994 (majority rule)
National holiday: Freedom Day, 27 April (1994)
Constitution: 10 December 1996; this new constitution was certified by the Constitutional Court on 4 December 1996, was signed by then President MANDELA on 10 December 1996, and entered into effect on 4 February 1997
Legal system: based on Roman-Dutch law and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Kgalema MOTLANTHE (since 25 September 2008); Executive Deputy President Baleka MBETE (since 25 September 2008); note - Thabo MBEKI resigned as president effective 25 September 2008; the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Kgalema MOTLANTHE (since 25 September 2008); Executive Deputy President Baleka MBETE (since 25 September 2008)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president elected by the National Assembly for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 25 September 2008 (next to be held in April 2009); note - Kgalema MOTLANTHE is serving out the term of Thabo MBEKI
election results: Kgalema MOTLANTHE elected president; National Assembly vote - Kgalema MOTLANTHE 269, Joe SEREMANE 50, other 41; note - Thabo MBEKI resigned as president effective 25 September 2008, Kgalema MOTLANTHE is serving the remainder of his term
Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consisting of the National Assembly (400 seats; members are elected by popular vote under a system of proportional representation to serve five-year terms) and the National Council of Provinces (90 seats, 10 members elected by each of the nine provincial legislatures for five-year terms; has special powers to protect regional interests, including the safeguarding of cultural and linguistic traditions among ethnic minorities); note - following the implementation of the new constitution on 4 February 1997, the former Senate was disbanded and replaced by the National Council of Provinces with essentially no change in membership and party affiliations, although the new institution's responsibilities have been changed somewhat by the new constitution
elections: National Assembly and National Council of Provinces - last held on 14 April 2004 (next to be held in 2009)
election results: National Assembly - percent of vote by party - ANC 69.7%, DA 12.4%, IFP 7%, UDM 2.3%, NNP 1.7%, ACDP 1.6%, other 5.3%; seats by party - ANC 279, DA 50, IFP 28, UDM 9, NNP 7, ACDP 6, other 21; National Council of Provinces - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA
Judicial branch: Constitutional Court; Supreme Court of Appeals; High Courts; Magistrate Courts
Political parties and leaders: African Christian Democratic Party or ACDP [Kenneth MESHOE]; African National Congress or ANC [Jacob ZUMA]; Democratic Alliance or DA [Helen ZILLE]; Freedom Front Plus or FF+ [Pieter MULDER]; Inkatha Freedom Party or IFP [Mangosuthu BUTHELEZI]; New National Party or NNP; Pan-Africanist Congress or PAC [Motsoko PHEKO]; United Democratic Movement or UDM [Bantu HOLOMISA]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Congress of South African Trade Unions or COSATU [Zwelinzima VAVI, general secretary]; South African Communist Party or SACP [Blade NZIMANDE, general secretary]; South African National Civics Organization or SANCO [Mlungisi HLONGWANE, national president]
note: note - COSATU and SACP are in a formal alliance with the ANC
International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, AU, BIS, C, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MONUC, NAM, NSG, OPCW, PCA, SACU, SADC, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMEE, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Welile Augustine NHLAPO
chancery: 3051 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 232-4400
FAX: [1] (202) 265-1607
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Eric BOST
embassy: 877 Pretorius Street, Pretoria
mailing address: P. O. Box 9536, Pretoria 0001
telephone: [27] (12) 342-1048
FAX: [27] (12) 342-2244
consulate(s) general: Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg
Flag description: two equal width horizontal bands of red (top) and blue separated by a central green band that splits into a horizontal Y, the arms of which end at the corners of the hoist side; the Y embraces a black isosceles 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
Culture

It may be argued that there is no "single" culture in South Africa because of its ethnic diversity. Today, the diversity in foods from many cultures is enjoyed by all and especially marketed to tourists who wish to sample the large variety of South African cuisine. In addition to food, music and dance feature prominently.

South African cuisine is heavily meat-based and has spawned the distinctively South African social gathering known as a braai, or barbecue. South Africa has also developed into a major wine producer, with some of the best vineyards lying in valleys around Stellenbosch, Franschoek, Paarl and Barrydale.

There is great diversity in music from South Africa. Many black musicians who sang in Afrikaans or English during apartheid have since begun to sing in traditional African languages, and have developed a unique style called Kwaito. Of note is Brenda Fassie, who launched to fame with her song "Weekend Special", which was sung in English. More famous traditional musicians include Ladysmith Black Mambazo, while the Soweto String Quartet performs classic music with an African flavour. White and Coloured South African singers are historically influenced by European musical styles including such western metal bands such as Seether (formerly Saron Gas). South Africa has produced world-famous jazz musicians, notably Hugh Masekela, Jonas Gwangwa, Abdullah Ibrahim, Miriam Makeba, Jonathan Butler, Chris McGregor, and Sathima Bea Benjamin. Afrikaans music covers multiple genres, such as the contemporary Steve Hofmeyr and the punk rock band Fokofpolisiekar. Crossover artists such as Johnny Clegg and his bands Juluka and Savuka have enjoyed various success underground, publicly, and abroad.

The South African black majority still has a substantial number of rural inhabitants who lead largely impoverished lives. It is among these people, however, that cultural traditions survive most strongly; as blacks have become increasingly urbanised and westernised, aspects of traditional culture have declined. Urban blacks usually speak English or Afrikaans in addition to their native tongue. There are smaller but still significant groups of speakers of Khoisan languages who are not included in the eleven official languages, but are one of the eight other officially recognised languages. There are small groups of speakers of endangered languages, most of which are from the Khoi-San family, that receive no official status; however, some groups within South Africa are attempting to promote their use and revival.

The middle class lifestyle, predominantly of the white minority but with growing numbers of Black, Coloured and Indian people, is similar in many respects to that of people found in Western Europe, North America and Australasia. Members of the middle class often study and work abroad for greater exposure to the markets of the world.

Asians, predominantly of Indian origin, preserve their own cultural heritage, languages and religious beliefs, being either Christian, Hindu or Sunni Muslim and speaking English, with Indian languages like Hindi, Telugu, Tamil or Gujarati being spoken less frequently, but the majority of Indians being able to understand their mother tongue. The first Indians arrived on the famous Truro ship as indentured labourers in Natal to work the Sugar Cane Fields. There is a much smaller Chinese community in South Africa, although its numbers have increased due to immigration from Republic of China (Taiwan).

South Africa has also had a large influence in the Scouting movement, with many Scouting traditions and ceremonies coming from the experiences of Robert Baden-Powell (the founder of Scouting) during his time in South Africa as a military officer in the 1890s. The South African Scout Association was one of the first youth organisations to open its doors to youth and adults of all races in South Africa. This happened on 2 July 1977 at a conference known as Quo Vadis.

The South African music scene consists of Kwaito, a new music genre that had developed in the mid 80s and has since developed to become the most popular social economical form of representation among the populous. Though some may argue that the political aspects of Kwaito has since diminished after Apartheid, and the relative interest in politics has become a minor aspect of daily life. Some argue that in a sense, Kwaito is in fact a political force that shows activism in its apolitical actions. Today, major corporations like Sony, BMG, and EMI have appeared on the South African scene to produce and distribute Kwaito music. Due to its overwhelming popularity, as well as the general influence of DJs, who are among the top 5 most influential types of people within the country, Kwaito has taken over radio, television, and magazines.

Kwaito, much like most hip-hop has its own local flavor and originality. However, unlike when hip-hop first burst on the scene as a politically driven and rebellious underground movement, South Africans wanted to create a happier vibe. As the post-apartheid fog cleared, South African youth found their "own voice in a style of music known as kwaito, spawning a new (and profitable) industry". According to TIMEeurope magazine, "The kwaito sound now regularly incorporates traditional African music, jazz, gospel, and even rock guitar, most notably on Mandoza's 2000 hit Nkalakatha, one of the few kwaito records to cross over onto traditionally white radio". In the kwaito, the samples from old school Jamaican dancehall, European house, etc., tempos are changed, beats are added, and urban street slang is also incorporated. This local flavor of music more recently has been attacked for its lack of ingenuity and its betrayal of its roots. The melodies and the incorporation of sex and dance have since become very similar to the American standard. In addition Kwaito has been criticised for its absence of influential lyrical content. As Kwaito is still a developing genre, and since the South African population is only around 48 million, sales of only 25,000 CDs are required for "gold" certification in South Africa.

Economy Economy - overview: South Africa is a middle-income, emerging market with an abundant supply of natural resources; well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors; a stock exchange that is 17th largest in the world; and modern infrastructure supporting an efficient distribution of goods to major urban centers throughout the region. Growth has been robust since 2004, as South Africa has reaped the benefits of macroeconomic stability and a global commodities boom. However, unemployment remains high and outdated infrastructure has constrained growth. At the end of 2007, South Africa began to experience an electricity crisis because state power supplier Eskom suffered supply problems with aged plants, necessitating "load-shedding" cuts to residents and businesses in the major cities. Daunting economic problems remain from the apartheid era - especially poverty, lack of economic empowerment among the disadvantaged groups, and a shortage of public transportation. South African economic policy is fiscally conservative but pragmatic, focusing on controlling inflation, maintaining a budget surplus, and using state-owned enterprises to deliver basic services to low-income areas as a means to increase job growth and household income.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $467.8 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $282.6 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 5.1% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $9,700 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 3.2%
industry: 31.3%
services: 65.5% (2007 est.)
Labor force: 20.49 million economically active (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 9%
industry: 26%
services: 65% (2007 est.)
Unemployment rate: 24.3% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line: 50% (2000 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 1.4%
highest 10%: 44.7% (2000)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 65 (2005)
Investment (gross fixed): 20.6% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget: revenues: $83.47 billion
expenditures: $82.02 billion (2007 est.)
Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March
Public debt: 31.3% of GDP (2007 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 6.5% (2007 est.)
Central bank discount rate: 11% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate: 13.17% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money: $58.49 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money: $141.9 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit: $254.9 billion (31 December 2007)
Agriculture - products: corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables; beef, poultry, mutton, wool, dairy products
Industries: mining (world's largest producer of platinum, gold, chromium), automobile assembly, metalworking, machinery, textiles, iron and steel, chemicals, fertilizer, foodstuffs, commercial ship repair
Industrial production growth rate: 4.4% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production: 264 billion kWh (2007)
Electricity - consumption: 241.4 billion kWh (2007)
Electricity - exports: 13.42 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports: 11.32 billion kWh (2007)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 93.5%
hydro: 1.1%
nuclear: 5.5%
other: 0% (2001)
Oil - production: 200,000 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil - consumption: 519,000 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil - exports: 217,700 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports: 319,000 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil - proved reserves: 15 million bbl (1 January 2007 est.)
Natural gas - production: 2.11 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 2.11 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 27.16 million cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance: -$20.63 billion (2007 est.)
Exports: $76.19 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities: gold, diamonds, platinum, other metals and minerals, machinery and equipment
Exports - partners: US 11.9%, Japan 11.1%, Germany 8%, UK 7.7%, China 6.6%, Netherlands 4.5% (2007)
Imports: $81.89 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, scientific instruments, foodstuffs
Imports - partners: Germany 10.9%, China 10%, Spain 8.2%, US 7.2%, Japan 6.1%, UK 4.5%, Saudi Arabia 4.2% (2007)
Economic aid - recipient: $700 million (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $32.94 billion (31 December 2007)
Debt - external: $39.78 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $93.51 billion (2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $53.98 billion (2007 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $842 billion (January 2008)
Currency (code): rand (ZAR)
Currency code: ZAR
Exchange rates: rands (ZAR) per US dollar - 7.05 (2007), 6.7649 (2006), 6.3593 (2005), 6.4597 (2004), 7.5648 (2003)
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 4.642 million (2007)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 42.3 million (2007)
Telephone system: general assessment: the system is the best developed and most modern in Africa
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity is nearly 110 telephones per 100 persons; consists of carrier-equipped open-wire lines, coaxial cables, microwave radio relay links, fiber-optic cable, radiotelephone communication stations, and wireless local loops; key centers are Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, and Pretoria
international: country code - 27; the SAT-3/WASC and SAFE fiber optic cable systems connect South Africa to Europe and Asia; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 2 Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 14, FM 347 (plus 243 repeaters), shortwave 1 (1998)
Radios: 17 million (2001)
Television broadcast stations: 556 (plus 144 network repeaters) (1997)
Televisions: 6 million (2000)
Internet country code: .za
Internet hosts: 1.297 million (2008)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 150 (2001)
Internet users: 5.1 million (2005)
Transportation Airports: 728 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 146
over 3,047 m: 10
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 51
914 to 1,523 m: 67
under 914 m: 13 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 582
1,524 to 2,437 m: 34
914 to 1,523 m: 300
under 914 m: 248 (2007)
Heliports: 1 (2007)
Pipelines: condensate 100 km; gas 1,177 km; oil 992 km; refined products 1,379 km (2007)
Railways: total: 20,872 km
narrow gauge: 20,436 km 1.065-m gauge (8,931 km electrified); 436 km 0.610-m gauge (2006)
Roadways: total: 362,099 km
paved: 73,506 km (includes 239 km of expressways)
unpaved: 288,593 km (2002)
Merchant marine: total: 3
by type: container 1, petroleum tanker 2
foreign-owned: 1 (Denmark 1)
registered in other countries: 8 (Bahamas 1, Nigeria 1, NZ 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1, Seychelles 1, UK 3) (2008)
Ports and terminals: Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Richards Bay, Saldanha Bay
Military Military branches: South African National Defense Force (SANDF): South African Army, South African Navy (SAN), South African Air Force (SAAF), Joint Operations Command, Military Intelligence, Military Health Services (2008)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for voluntary military service; women have a long history of military service in noncombat roles dating back to World War I (2004)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 11,622,507
females age 16-49: 11,501,537 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 6,042,498
females age 16-49: 5,471,103 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 529,201
female: 522,678 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures: 1.7% of GDP (2006)
Military - note: with the end of apartheid and the establishment of majority rule, former military, black homelands forces, and ex-opposition forces were integrated into the South African National Defense Force (SANDF); as of 2003 the integration process was considered complete
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: South Africa has placed military along the border to apprehend the thousands of Zimbabweans fleeing economic dysfunction and political persecution; as of January 2007, South Africa also supports large numbers of refugees and asylum seekers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (33,000), Somalia (20,000), Burundi (6,500), and other states in Africa (26,000); managed dispute with Namibia over the location of the boundary in the Orange River; in 2006, Swazi king advocates resort to ICJ to claim parts of Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal from South Africa
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 10,772 (Democratic Republic of Congo); 7,818 (Somalia); 5,759 (Angola) (2007)
Trafficking in persons: current situation: South Africa is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for forced labor and sexual exploitation; women and girls are trafficked internally - and occasionally to European and Asian countries - for sexual exploitation; women from other African countries are trafficked to South Africa and, less frequently, onward to Europe for sexual exploitation; men and boys are trafficked from neighboring countries for forced agricultural labor; Asian and Eastern European women are trafficked to South Africa for debt-bonded sexual exploitation
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - South Africa is on the Tier 2 Watch List for a fourth consecutive year for its failure to show increasing efforts to address trafficking; the government provided inadequate data in 2007 on trafficking crimes investigated or prosecuted, or on resulting convictions or sentences; it also did not provide information on its efforts to protect victims of trafficking; the country continues to deport and/or prosecute suspected foreign victims without providing appropriate protective services (2008)
Illicit drugs: transshipment center for heroin, hashish, and cocaine, as well as a major cultivator of marijuana in its own right; cocaine and heroin consumption on the rise; world's largest market for illicit methaqualone, usually imported illegally from India through various east African countries, but increasingly producing its own synthetic drugs for domestic consumption; attractive venue for money launderers given the increasing level of organized criminal and narcotics activity in the region and the size of the South African economy