The World Factbook (1990)/South Africa

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pages 284–285

South Africa

World Factbook (1990) South Africa.jpg

See regional map VII


Total area: 1,221,040 km²; land area: 1,221,040 km²; includes Walvis Bay, Marion Island, and Prince Edward Island

Comparative area: slightly less than twice the size of Texas

Land boundaries: 4,973 km total; Botswana 1,840 km, Lesotho 909 km, Mozambique 491 km, Namibia 1,078 km, Swaziland 430 km, Zimbabwe 225 km

Coastline: 2,881 km

Maritime claims:

Continental shelf: 200 meters or to depth of exploitation
Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Disputes: South Africa administered Namibia until independence was achieved on 21 March 1990; possible future claim to Walvis Bay by Namibia

Climate: mostly semiarid; subtropical along coast; sunny days, cool nights

Terrain: vast interior plateau rimmed by rugged hills and narrow coastal plain

Natural resources: gold, chromium, antimony, coal, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, tin, uranium, gem diamonds, platinum, copper, vanadium, salt, natural gas

Land use: 10% arable land; 1% permanent crops; 65% meadows and pastures; 3% forest and woodland; 21% other; includes 1% irrigated

Environment: lack of important arterial rivers or lakes requires extensive water conservation and control measures

Note: Walvis Bay is an exclave of South Africa in Namibia; completely surrounds Lesotho; almost completely surrounds Swaziland


Population: 39,549,941 (July 1990), growth rate 2.67%; includes the 10 so-called homelands, which are not recognized by the US

four independent homelands—Bophuthatswana 2,352,296, growth rate 2.80%; Ciskei 1,025,873, growth rate 2.93%; Transkei 4,367,648, growth rate 4.19%; Venda 665,197, growth rate 3.86%

six other homelands—Gazankulu 742,361, growth rate 3.99%; Kangwane 556,009, growth rate 3.64%; KwaNdebele 348,655, growth rate 3.35%; KwaZulu 5,349,247, growth rate 3.62%; Lebowa 2,704,641, growth rate 3.92%; Qwagwa 268,138, growth rate 3.59%

Birth rate: 35 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 8 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: NEGL migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 52 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 61 years male, 67 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 4.5 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—South African(s); adjective—South African

Ethnic divisions: 73.8% black, 14.3% white, 9.1% Colored, 2.8% Indian

Religion: most whites and Coloreds and roughly 60% of blacks are Christian; roughly 60% of Indians are Hindu, 20% Muslim

Language: Afrikaans, English (official); many vernacular languages, including Zulu, Xhosa, North and South Sotho, Tswana

Literacy: almost all white population literate; government estimates 50% of blacks literate

Labor force: 11,000,000 economically active; 34% services, 30% agriculture, 29% industry and commerce, 7% mining (1985)

Organized labor: about 17% of total labor force is unionized; African unions represent 15% of black labor force


Long-form name: Republic of South Africa; abbreviated RSA

Type: republic

Capital: administrative, Pretoria; legislative, Cape Town; judicial, Bloemfontein

Administrative divisions: 4 provinces; Cape, Natal, Orange Free State, Transvaal; there are 10 homelands not recognized by the US—4 independent (Bophuthatswana, Ciskei, Transkei, Venda) and 6 other (Gazankulu, Kangwane, KwaNdebele, KwaZulu, Lebowa, Qwaqwa)

Independence: 31 May 1910 (from UK)

Constitution: 3 September 1984

Legal system: based on Roman-Dutch law and English common law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

National holiday: Republic Day, 31 May (1910)

Executive branch: state president, cabinet, Executive Council (cabinet) Ministers' Councils (from the three houses of Parliament)

Legislative branch: tricameral Parliament consists of the House of Assembly (whites), House of Representatives (Coloreds), and House of Delegates (Indians)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Leaders: Chief of State and Head of Government—State President Frederik W. DE KLERK (since 13 September 1989)

Political parties and leaders: white political parties and leaders—National Party (NP), Frederik W. de Klerk (majority party); Conservative Party (CP), Dr. Andries P. Treurnicht (official opposition party); Herstigte National Party (HNP), Jaap Marais; Democratic Party (DP), Zach De Beer, Wynand Malan, and Denis Worrall;

Colored political parties and leaders—Labor Party (LP), Allan Hendrickse (majority party); Democratic Reform Party (DRP), Carter Ebrahim; United Democratic Party (UDP), Jac Rabie; Freedom Party;

Indian political parties and leaders—Solidarity, J. N. Reddy (majority party); National People's Party (NPP), Amichand Rajbansi; Merit People's Party

Suffrage: universal at age 18, but voting rights are racially based

Elections: House of Assembly (whites)—last held 6 September 1989 (next to be held by September 1994); results—NP 58%, CP 23%, DP 19%; seats—(178 total, 166 elected) NP 103, CP 41, DP 34;

House of Representatives (Coloreds)—last held 6 September 1989 (next to be held by September 1994); results—percent of vote by party NA; seats—(85 total, 80 elected) LP 69, DRP 5, UDP 3, Freedom Party 1, independents 2;

House of Delegates (Indians)—last held 6 September 1989 (next to be held by September 1994); results—percent of vote by party NA; seats—(45 total, 40 elected) Solidarity 16, NPP 9, Merit People's Party 3, United Party 2, Democratic Party 2, People's Party 1 , National Federal Party 1 , independents 6

Communists: small Communist party illegal since 1950; party in exile maintains headquarters in London, Daniel Tloome (Chairman) and Joe Slovo (General Secretary)

Other political groups: insurgent groups in exile—African National Congress (ANC), Oliver Tambo; Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC), Zephania Mothopeng; internal antiapartheid groups—Pan-Africanist Movement (PAM), Clarence Makwetu; United Democratic Front (UDF), Albertina Sisulu and Archibald Gumede

Member of: CCC, GATT, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IFC, IHO, ILZSG, IMF, INTELSAT, ISO, ITU, IWC—International Whaling Commission, IWC—International Wheat Council, Southern African Customs Union, UN, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WSG (membership rights in IAEA, ICAO, ITU, WHO, WIPO, and WMO suspended or restricted)

Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Piet G. J. KOORNHOF; Chancery at 3051 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 232-4400; there are South African Consulates General in Beverly Hills (California), Chicago, Houston, and New York; US—Ambassador William L. SWING; Embassy at Thibault House, 225 Pretorius Street, Pretoria; telephone [27] (12) 28-4266; there are US Consulates General in Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg

Flag: actually four flags in one—three miniature flags reproduced in the center of the white band of the former flag of the Netherlands which has three equal horizontal bands of orange (top), white, and blue; the miniature flags are a vertically hanging flag of the old Orange Free State with a horizontal flag of the UK adjoining on the hoist side and a horizontal flag of the old Transvaal Republic adjoining on the other side


Overview: Many of the white one-seventh of the South African population enjoy incomes, material comforts, and health and educational standards equal to those of Western Europe. In contrast, most of the remaining population suffers from the poverty patterns of the Third World, including unemployment, lack of job skills, and barriers to movement into higher-paying fields. Inputs and outputs thus do not move smoothly into the most productive employments, and the effectiveness of the market is further lowered by international constraints on dealings with South Africa. The main strength of the economy lies in its rich mineral resources, which provide two-thirds of exports. Average growth of 2% in output in recent years falls far short of the level needed to cut into the high unemployment level.

GDP: $83.5 billion, per capita $2,380; real growth rate 3.2% (1988)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 14.67% (1989)

Unemployment rate: 22% (1988); blacks 25-30%, up to 50% in homelands (1988 est.)

Budget: revenues $24.3 billion; expenditures $27.3 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA billion (FY91)

Exports: $21.5 billion (f.o.b., 1988 est.); commodities—gold 40%, minerals and metals 23%, food 6%, chemicals 3%; partners—FRG, Japan, UK, US, other EC, Hong Kong

Imports: $18.5 billion (c.i.f., 1989 est.); commodities—machinery 27%, chemicals 11%, vehicles and aircraft 11%, textiles, scientific instruments, base metals; partners—US, FRG, Japan, UK, France, Italy, Switzerland

External debt: $21.2 billion (1988 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate 5.6% (1988)

Electricity: 34,941,000 kW capacity; 158,000 million kWh produced, 4,100 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: mining (world's largest producer of diamonds, gold, chrome), automobile assembly, metalworking, machinery, textile, iron and steel, chemical, fertilizer, foodstuffs

Agriculture: accounts for 6% of GDP and 30% of labor force; diversified agriculture, with emphasis on livestock; products—cattle, poultry, sheep, wool, milk, beef, corn, wheat; sugarcane, fruits, vegetables; self-sufficient in food

Aid: NA

Currency: rand (plural—rand); 1 rand (R) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: rand (R) per US$1—2.5555 (January 1990), 2.6166 (1989), 2.2611 (1988), 2.0350 (1987), 2.2685 (1986), 2.1911 (1985)

Fiscal year: 1 April-31 March


Railroads: 20,638 km route distance total; 35,079 km of 1.067-meter gauge trackage (counts double and multiple tracking as single track); 314 km of 610 mm gauge

Highways: 188,309 km total; 54,013 km paved, 134,296 km crushed stone, gravel, or improved earth

Pipelines: 931 km crude oil; 1,748 km refined products; 322 km natural gas

Ports: Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Richard's Bay, Saldanha, Mosselbaai, Walvis Bay

Merchant marine: 9 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 275,684 GRT/273,973 DWT; includes 7 container, 1 vehicle carrier, 1 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker

Civil air: 81 major transport aircraft

Airports: 931 total, 793 usable; 124 with permanent-surface runways; 4 with runways over 3,659 m; 10 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 213 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: the system is the best developed, most modern, and has the highest capacity in Africa; it consists of carrier-equipped open-wire lines, coaxial cables, radio relay links, fiber optic cable, and radiocommunication stations; key centers are Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, and Pretoria; 4,500,000 telephones; stations—14 AM, 286 FM, 67 TV; 1 submarine cable; satellite earth stations—1 Indian Ocean INTELSAT and 2 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Medical Services

Military manpower: males 15-49, 9,544,357; 5,828,167 fit for military service; 419,815 reach military age (18) annually; obligation for service in Citizen Force or Commandos begins at 18; volunteers for service in permanent force must be 17; national service obligation is two years; figures include the so-called homelands not recognized by the US

Defense expenditures: 5% of GDP, or $4 billion (1989 est.)