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South Africa

Area: 1.2 million sq. km. (470,462 sq. mi.).
Cities: Capitals--Administrative, Pretoria; Legislative, Cape Town; Judicial, Bloemfontein. Other cities--Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth.
Terrain: Plateau, savanna, desert, mountains, coastal plains.
Climate: moderate; similar to southern California.

Nationality: Noun and adjective--South African(s).
Annual growth rate (2004 World Bank Group): 0.8%.
Population (2004, 46.6 million): Composition--black 79%; white 9.6%; colored 8.9%; Asian (Indian) 2.5%. Official figures from 2000 South African Census at
Languages: Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, and Xitsonga (all official languages).
Religions: Predominantly Christian; traditional African, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish.
Education: Years compulsory--7-15 years of age for all children. The South African Schools Act, Act 84 of 1996, passed by Parliament in 1996, aims to achieve greater educational opportunities for black children, mandating a single syllabus and more equitable funding for schools.
Health: Infant mortality rate (2000)--59 per live births. Life expectancy--52 yrs. women; 50 yrs. men. Health data from 2000 U.S. Census Report: HIV/AIDS Country Profiles at

Type: Parliamentary democracy.
Independence: The Union of South Africa was created on May 31, 1910; became sovereign state within British Empire in 1934; became a republic on May 31, 1961; left the Commonwealth in October 1968; rejoined the Commonwealth in June 1994.
Constitution: Entered into force February 3, 1997.
Branches: Executive--president (chief of state) elected to a 5-year term by the National Assembly. Legislative--bicameral Parliament consisting of 490 members in two chambers. National Assembly (400 members) elected by a system of proportional representation. National Council of Provinces consisting of 90 delegates (10 from each province) and 10 nonvoting delegates representing local government. Judicial--Constitutional Court interprets and decides constitutional issues; Supreme Court of Appeal is the highest court for interpreting and deciding nonconstitutional matters.
Administrative subdivisions: Nine provinces: Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, North-West, Northern Cape, Limpopo, Western Cape.
Political parties: African National Congress (ANC), Democratic Alliance (DA), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Vryheidsfront Plus/Freedom Front Plus (FF+), Pan-African Congress (PAC), African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), United Democratic Movement (UDM), and Azanian Peoples Organization (Azapo).
Suffrage: Citizens and permanent residents 18 and older.

GDP (2004): $213 billion. 2004 GDP at market prices (baseline year 2000)--1.374 billion rand (R).
Real GDP growth rate (2004): 3.7%.
GDP per capita (2004): $3,480.
Unemployment (September 2004): 27.8%.
Natural resources: Almost all essential commodities, except petroleum products and bauxite. Only country in the world that manufactures fuel from coal.
Industry: Types--minerals, mining, motor vehicles and parts, machinery, textiles, chemicals, fertilizer, information technology, electronics, other manufacturing, and agroprocessing.
Trade (2004): Exports--$36.3 billion (2003 merchandise exports R256 billion; 2003 gold exports R35 billion): gold, other minerals and metals, agricultural products, motor vehicles and parts. Major markets--U.K., U.S., Germany, Italy, Japan, East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa. Imports--$34 billion (2003 merchandise imports R263 billion): machinery, transport equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, textiles, and scientific instruments. Major suppliers--Germany, U.S., Japan, U.K., Italy.
GDP composition (2003): Agriculture and mining (primary sector)--11%; industry (secondary sector)--24%; services (tertiary sector)--65%. World's largest producer of platinum, gold, and chromium; also significant coal production.

Adapted from material published in the CIA World Factbook.
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