South Africa Facts
South Africa is located right at the southern tip of the African continent. Here you can experience the spirit of the colonial period as well as African culture surrounded by stunning scenery. South – Africa’s finest safari experiences is the Kruger National Park. In Cape Town, with a population of three million, you enjoy beaches and culture.
Capital: Cape Town, Pretoria, Bloemfontein
Official language: Afrikaans, English, Zulu, Xhosa, Swazi, Ndebele, Southern Sotho, Northern Sotho, Tsonga, Tswana and Venda
Currency: South African rand
Passport and visa: A Finnish citizen may stay in South Africa as a tourist without a visa for a maximum of 90 days. The machine-readable passport must be valid for at least 6 months upon arrival in the country.
Time difference to Finland: 1 hour
Climate: South Africa’s climate is warm and low in rainfall. The winter season is short, about three months, but then the nights in particular are very cold. The thermal insulation of residential buildings is somewhat poor, and for this reason it is cool inside during the winter season. Daytime temperatures are pleasant even in winter.
The country’s climate is divided into two opposing areas. In the western and southern parts of the country, the rainy season coincides with winter, while in the northeastern and eastern parts, the rainy season lasts more than summer. In winter, rainfall in Pretoria is very rare.
The summer season in Cape Town is shorter than in Pretoria: December to March. In winter, Cape Town has winds – storm winds are common – and rain.
The legacy of apartheid means that white farmers are engaged in developed commercial agriculture, while the black farming in d homelands (see History) is focused on self-sufficiency and provides poor returns. Whita’s agriculture has also yielded relatively low returns in international comparison.
- CountryAAH: Comprehensive import regulations of South Africa. Covers import prohibitions and special documentation requirements for a list of prohibited items.
South Africa’s soil is moderately fertile. Mostly, agriculture suffers from a lack of rain and is plagued by recurring drought. However, the whimsical climate means that the size of the harvests varies greatly. Large ponds have been built for irrigation. Vast areas are pastures. For South Africa defense and foreign policy, please check prozipcodes.
Maize is the most widely used crop and important for both domestic and export markets. Other prominent agricultural products are sugar, wool, fruit, grapes, peanuts and tobacco. Wheat and vegetables are grown abundantly. South Africa has the world’s largest orange plantation with over a million trees.
The wine industry in the Western Cape Province has grown strongly in recent years with both cultivation and production as well as wine tourism.
At the abolition of apartheid in 1994, 90 percent of the agricultural land was in white ownership. Then an opportunity was opened for blacks to regain land that was forcibly taken over by whites (see History). 80,000 demands came in before the time limit expired in 1998. But the land reform has so far been a failure. In 2019, the state had only managed to buy off about 12 percent of the country’s agricultural land from white farmers and distribute the land to black people. It is far from the government’s goal that a third of agricultural land should be in black hands in 2014.
The government has also not wanted to give smallholder farmers in the poor former black home countries private ownership of the land. In these areas, the land is still controlled by traditional leaders who decide who can grow and where. Without law enforcement on the ground, farmers have no opportunity to obtain bank loans for investment. This is a major cause of the severe overgrazing and soil erosion in these areas.
Land reform has been criticized in all camps. Blacks believe it is going too slowly and the whites are accusing the government of giving land to many who do not use it. Leftist forces within the ruling party ANC have called for occupation of land owned by whites.
In 2018, the government initiated a process to change the constitution so that land can be expropriated without the owners being compensated.
South Africa is largely self-sufficient in food. 95 percent is produced on the large farms that are still mostly owned by whites. Only one in ten new black commercial farmers has managed to make a profit, according to the government’s own data. Lack of experience and capital are identified as the main causes.
Only six percent of the country’s area is forested. The forestry and timber industries therefore have little economic significance.
Near South Africa’s long coast are some of the world’s richest fishing waters, which are threatened by overfishing. It is mainly anchovies and pike that are raised.
FACTS – AGRICULTURE
Agriculture’s share of GDP
2.2 percent (2018)
Percentage of land used for agriculture
79.8 percent (2016)
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Offers how the 3-letter acronym of ZAF stands for the state of South Africa in geography.
Mandela dies 95 years old dies
Nelson Mandela in his home after a long illness. At a trade show the day after, former Archbishop Desmond Tutu urged South Africans to honor the peace fighters by showing cohesion. Some 60 leaders from around the world, including US President Barack Obama, attend an official memorial ceremony in Johannesburg. Sweden is represented by Crown Princess Victoria and Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. On December 15, Nelson Mandela is buried in his hometown of northeastern South Africa.
Malema is facing trial for corruption
A court ruled that Julius Malema should be brought to justice accused of corruption. The trial is scheduled for September 2014.
New support for EFF
The new left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters, EFF, led by Julius Malema, is heavily supported by several former ANC politicians. Among other things, Dali Mpofu, the lawyer representing the victims of the shooting at the Marikana mine, joins in 2012.
Trade union leaders are murdered
A local leader in the miners’ union NUM is shot in the helicopter in the troubled mining town of Marikana. Rivalry between NUM and AMCU, the more radical trade union for miners, is suspected to be behind.
Zuma is linked to scandal
The Mail and Guardian magazine publishes information that President Jacob Zuma should have personal connection to a scandal earlier in the year when one of the country’s wealthiest families was allowed to fly in a few hundred wedding guests from India to one of the country’s most important military airports. At the same time, the family sued the newspaper for SEK 500 million for publishing erroneous information in connection with the scandal.
The strikes in the mining industry continue. The IMF publishes a report that forecasts that the growth rate in the economy, partly due to the strikes, will fall to 2 percent in 2013, compared with 2.5 percent in 2012.
Miners return to work
More than 80,000 miners return to work after striking for higher wages. The workers had originally demanded a pay raise of 60 percent while the employer offered six percent, which corresponds to the rate of inflation. Now the parties agreed on eight percent. At several mines, however, the strikes continued. At the world’s largest platinum mine, operated by the company Amplants, near Rustenburg, workers strike against large layoffs.
Mandela leaves the hospital
Nelson Mandela is allowed to leave the hospital and taken care of at home.
Extensive strikes are underway for several key wage agreements to be renegotiated.
AMCU as negotiating partner
Two of the country’s leading mining companies accept the radical trade union AMCU as negotiating partner, as the new trade union has gained more members in the companies’ mines than the traditional mining union NUM. The decision raises hopes of an end to the many wild strikes that have shaken the mining industry.
New political movement
Julius Malema launches a new political movement called Economic Freedom Fighters. He describes it as a radical anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist leftist movement. According to Malema, the intention is to challenge the ANC in the 2014 elections.
The government is being reformed
President Zuma reforms the government. Among those forced to resign is the prominent anti-apartheid activist Tokyo Sexwale, who was considered a potential challenger to Zuma over the leadership position in the ANC. It raises some notion that ministers, as depicted in corruption deals or other scandals, may retain their missions.
A new political party is formed
Former ANC profile and doctor Mamphela Ramphele starts a new political party, Agang, with the aim of challenging the ANC. ANC’s corrupt leadership is a threat to the country, believes Ramphele who wants to revive a leadership in Nelson Mandela’s spirit. During the apartheid era, Ramphele was placed under house arrest for seven years because of his political struggle.
Mandela is cared for in a hospital
Nelson Mandela is being treated at a hospital in Pretoria for a lung infection. His condition is critical and the people are preparing for Mandela to die.
Legal process resumes
After 14 years of rest, a legal process will be resumed with the aim of compensating the descendants of people who lost land when the race laws were introduced in 1913. The process should be completed in 2018.
Economic growth is declining
New figures show that the growth rate in the country’s economy is declining.
Senior officials and officers are turned off
A number of high-ranking officials and officers are suspended after one of the country’s richest families was allowed to fly a few hundred wedding guests from India to one of the country’s most important military airports. The scandal shakes the government, as several of the family’s representatives have close contacts with President Zuma.
Critical media law is adopted
Parliament adopts a heavily criticized media law that gives the authorities extensive powers to secretly stamp documents.
Brics gather in Durban
In Durban, the five emerging economies gather under the abbreviation Brics, ie Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, to discuss common political and economic interests. Among other things, they want to increase trade with Africa and create a joint development bank.
13 soldiers are killed
In the Central African Republic, 13 South African soldiers are killed and another 17 injured when rebels take power. South Africa decides to withdraw its forces from the country.
Criticism against commission of inquiry
Several members of the Commission who are investigating whether crimes have been committed in connection with the arms deal involving the Swedish Jas plan have resigned or are about to resign, reports South African The Times. The reason is according to information to the newspaper that the Commission is politically controlled and intends to free the ANC government party and its leaders.
Clashes between unions
Thirteen miners in Rustenburg are injured in clashes between two unions at a platinum mine. The situation is critical for at least three of the injured. According to police, the victims have been attacked with hacking knives and other sharp objects.
Increased minimum wage
The government decides that the minimum wage for farm workers should be increased from 69 rand to 105 rand a day (equivalent to SEK 80). Strikes in the Western Cape Province are quelled.
Unchanged policy rate
The Riksbank leaves the policy rate unchanged when new figures show that inflation is 5.7 percent, which is the highest figure in a year. The Riksbank expresses concern that wage increases will lead to higher inflation in the future.
Unrest along highway
The highway between Cape Town and Johannesburg is blocked and several cars are set on fire. In the Doorms area, a person has been killed since being hit by police rubber bullets in connection with the riots.
Strike in the Cape Province
In the Western Cape Province, rural workers strike and demand that the minimum wage of 69 rand per day be doubled to 150 rand. They also protest that a new law means that they can no longer live in the farms where they work. The Cosatu trade union calls for an international boycott of agricultural products from the Western Cape if conditions are not improved. The strike threatens this year’s wine harvest and whips up racist moods between colored farmworkers and white landowners.