At the bottom of Africa lies South Africa. The
country is embraced by the Atlantic in the west and the
Indian Ocean in the east. With 50 million inhabitants,
South Africa is Africa's largest economy. Several years
of economic growth and political stability have created
a prosperous colored middle class. At the same time,
poverty elsewhere is widespread and unemployment is
high. The large gaps lead to political tensions.
Brief profiles of South Africa, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
South Africa is located on the southern tip
of Africa and is almost three times the size of Sweden.
In the north, the country borders Namibia, Botswana and
Zimbabwe and in the northeast to Mozambique and
In the south-west, south and south-east, an
approximately 300 km long coast runs towards the
Atlantic and the Indian Ocean respectively. At
Godahoppsudden in the south, two ocean currents with
different temperatures meet, which characterize the
climate and vegetation on the coasts of South Africa.
The warm current comes from the north along the east and
south coasts and the cold comes from below the Antarctic
and follows the west coast all the way up to Angola.
South Africa is mainly a plateau country. The Free
State Province (formerly the Orange Free State) in the
central part and the Northern Cape province in the west
consist of vast plains.
The Western Cape Province in the southwest is
mountainous. The provinces of Gauteng, Mpumalanga and
Northern Province (all former Transvaal) are largely
made up of plateau landscapes with savannas and steppes.
From the foothills surrounding the high plateaus in the
east, the landscape descends towards the coast in
terraces with subtropical vegetation. There lies the
province of KwaZulu-Natal and the small mountain kingdom
of Lesotho, completely surrounded by South Africa.
The country's longest river, the Orange River, flows
through the plateau on its way west, forming a northern
border with Namibia, before it opens into the Atlantic.
The flow varies greatly and in some dry years the river
can be in the west.
The summers, which are warm and fall between November
and April, receive the most rainfall. An exception is
the coastal area in the west and southwest, where it
rains most during the winter. Thunderstorms and hail
storms are common inland.
The rains in South Africa are irregular and
unpredictable. Two thirds of the country has annual
rainfall of less than 500 mm, a minimum for successful
agriculture without irrigation. In the north and
northwest there is the most favorable climate with hot
summers and dry, mild winters.
The temperature varies depending on altitude and
1 221 037 km2 (2018)
Swedish + 1 hour
Adjacent country (s)
Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland,
Capital with number of inhabitants
1.72 million, Cape Town (Parliament) 3.65 million and
Bloemfontein (Supreme Court) 610,000 (2010) 1
Other major cities
Johannesburg 3.67 million, Durban 2.88 million, Port
Elizabeth 1.18 million (2010) 2
Injasuti (3408 m asl)
Covenants are excluded
The trade union movement Cosatu excludes its largest union, the metal worker
union Numsa, which has come on a collision course with the ruling ANC. At the
same time, seven other trade unions are temporarily suspending their membership
in Cosatu in solidarity with Numsa. After the exclusion, Numsa announces that
the movement intends to form a political organization, the United Front.
Police confirm that an investigation has been initiated into the
circumstances surrounding the renovation of President Zuma's house in Nkandla
Trial is postponed
The planned corruption trial against opposition politician Julius Malema is
postponed until August 2015.
Chaos during parliamentary debate
A parliamentary debate ends in chaos and police are called in when members of
the EFF openly show their dissatisfaction with President Zuma. During the
debate, Zuma is grilled for using tax money to renovate his home (see
Mars). "Pay back the money" scans the EFF MPs who also turn on their
benches. Zuma leaves the room and the debate is suspended. A few days later, the
Ombudsman reviewing public spending demands that Zuma explain within two weeks
why he should not have to repay the money.
Strike is canceled
The five-month strike in the platinum mines is canceled.
Zuma is being treated in hospital
President Jacob Zuma, who was recently sworn in for a second presidential
term, is being cared for in hospitals and the installation figure for the nation
is postponed. The reason is stated to be overwork. Jacob Zuma is 72 years old.
Strike leads to extensive loss
The strike in the country's platinum mines, which includes 70,000 workers, is
now estimated to have cost companies about SEK 10 billion. As a result of the
strike, the IMF writes down its growth forecast for 2014 from 2.8 to 2.3
The ANC makes its worst choice so far when South Africa celebrates 20 years
as a democracy. Dissatisfaction with economic development and political
corruption scandals is believed to be behind the election result of 62.15
percent, which is a decrease of close to four percent compared to the 2009
election. The opposition party Democratic Alliance receives 22.2 percent of the
vote, which is an increase of just over five percent then the last election. The
increase is believed to be due to the fact that the DA received many votes from
Cope, a former breakout party from the ANC, which after collecting 7 percent of
the votes in 2009 this year receives less than one percent. Julius Malema's
party EFF receives 6.35 percent of the vote. The result means that the ANC and
the EFF together reach a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly and thus
can make changes to the constitution if they succeed in agreeing.
Zuma is asked to repay money
A report by the ombudsman reviewing public spending states that President
Zuma has taken personal gain when his private residence in Nkandla has been
renovated. The redevelopment called a "security update" has cost US $ 24 million
and includes the construction of an amphitheater and a swimming pool. The
Ombudsman says in the report that Zuma should repay the money for those parts of
the renovation that are obviously not linked to security. The deal carries more
on Zuma's popularity than previous scandals and many are advocating for Zuma to
leave the presidential post in favor of his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa.
Electoral movements are merged
The two opposition parties Democratic Alliance and Agang merge their
electoral movements and launch Agang party leader Mamphela Ramphele as candidate
for the presidential post. The collaboration breaks down after only a few weeks.
Strike in the platinum industry
The platinum industry is paralyzed when 70,000 members of the Amsu mining
union go on strike. The workers demand entry salaries of SEK 12,500 a month,
which corresponds to approximately SEK 8,100. South Africa is the world's
largest producer of platinum and platinum accounts for 17 percent of the
country's total exports.
Corruption against corruption
ANC launches an election manifesto promising power against corruption. Among
other things, public officials should not be allowed to do business with the
state. The party also promises to create six million new jobs by 2019 through
public investment. In order to create growth, the ANC wants to follow the
development plan up to 2030 (National Development Plan) that was previously
launched. The plan is criticized for being very similar to a previous
development plan from 1996 (Gear), which according to the opposition has helped
to maintain large economic gaps in the country.