Country Description

General information

Official name: Republic of South Africa

Government: Republic

Area: 1,221,037 sq. km

Capital: Pretoria

Official languages: Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, English, Sepedi, Setswana, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga-Shangaan, Venda, Ndebele

Population: 51 770 560 habitants (recensement  2011)

Religions: Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, Other Christian

Political Data

Independence day: 31 May 1910 (Union of South Africa formed from four British colonies: Cape Colony, Natal, Transvaal, and Orange Free State).

Structure of Government:

Executive: The President is elected by the National Assembly to serve a 5-year term (eligible for a second term).

Legislative: Bicameral Parliament consisting of a National Council of Provinces (Upper Chamber) and a National Assembly (Lower Chamber). Members of both Chambers are elected for 5-year terms.

Judicial: The Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court and the High Court are the highest courts in the country.

Foreign policy: South Africa is a member of AU, UN, UNAMID, UNTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, Security Council (temporary), UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, etc.

Economic Data

GDP: 384, 315 billion USD

Main economic resources: Gold, chrome, coal, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphate, pewter, uranium, diamonds, gemstones, platinum, copper, vanadium, salt, natural gas, etc.

Legal System

Mixed legal system of English common law, Roman-Dutch civil law, and customary law.

Useful Links

National: Constitution and South Africa Official Gateway.

Regional: Visit the website of AU, SADC, etc…

International: United Nations Treaty Series Online collection

National Partners of African Law Library