Republic of South Africa

Republic of South Africa

Political Economy Summary

Capital Pretoria
Independence 31 May 1910
Head of State & Govt H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa
Minister of Foreign Affairs Naledi Pandor
Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni
Central Bank Govenor Lesetja Kganyago
Next National Elections Date 2024
Government Website
Parliament Website


Political Economy

Click on a thumbnail below to read the relevant PESA Editorial regarding South Africa.

Balance of Payments and International FDI Position in South Africa: FY2019/20
South African merchandise export earnings have grown consistently since 2017. The faster export earnings have not been sufficient to improve South Africa’s current account balance ...
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Trade and Regional Integration in South Africa: FY2019/20
South African exports have grown faster than imports during the period from 2015 to 2018. This has improved South Africa’s gross official reserves due to ...
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GDP Growth and Public Finance in South Africa: FY2019/20
The South African economy has faced declining real GDP growth mainly due to high unemployment and inequality which result in subdued aggregate demand, thereby disincentivising ...
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PESA Editorial - South Africa - 3Q2018/19
South Africa’s most prominent period of intense political conflict was between 1950 and 1994 with peaks in 1976 and 1984. Unlike other African countries whose ...
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Regional Integration

Click on a thumbnail below to read the relevant PESA Regional Integration Monitor relating to South Africa.

Climate Change and Adaptation in SADC
The April 2020 issue focuses on assessing the impact of climate change and evaluating the effectiveness of regional systems and national responses to the crisis ...
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Trade and Regional Integration in SADC
The November 2019 issue focuses on providing an overview of trade performance in SADC – What are the levels of intra-regional trade in SADC? What ...
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Youth Unemployment and Empowerment in SADC
The July 2019 issue focuses on providing an overview of youth empowerment in SADC - What is the current state of youth unemployment and youth ...
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Public Debt and Government Finances in SADC
The April 2019 issue focuses on providing an overview of public debt in SADC and what needs to be done to retain debt sustainability in ...
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Policy Dialogues

Click on a thumbnail below to view the latest PESA public engagements on issues relating to South Africa.

Political Economy Review: South Africa's Supplementary Budget
Interview about the South African Supplementary Budget which is being tabled on 24 June 2020. The discussion reviews the main proposals to be expected in ...
Unpacking the Zero-Based Budgeting Approach in South Africa
Interview about the South African Supplementary Budget which is being tabled on 24 June 2020. The discussion reviews the main proposals to be expected in ...
Importance of Lesotho and South African Bilateral Relations
Interview about the importance of the bilateral relations between Lesotho and South Africa following Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro's working visit to Pretoria. The discussion evaluates ...
Evaluating Inheritance Tax Proposals to Reduce Inequality
Interview evaluating constitutional law Professor Pierre de Vos's blog about privilege and inheritance in which he suggests it is time to use inheritance tax as ...


Country Expert

Siyaduma Biniza

Siya is the Executive Director at PESA.

South African Geographic Location
Geographic Location

South Africa occupies the southern tip of Africa and its coastline stretching more than 2,500 kilometres from the desert border with Namibia on the Atlantic coast, around the south-most tip of Africa, and around the northeast to the border with Mozambique on the Indian Ocean. The low-lying coastal zone is narrow and gives way to a mountainous escarpment, the Great Escarpment that separates the coast from the high-lying inland plateau. In some places, notably the province of KwaZulu-Natal in the east, a greater distance separates the coast from the escarpment. Although most of the country is classified as semi-arid, it has considerable variation in climate as well as topography.

The South African central plateau contains only two major rivers, namely the Limpopo and the Orange river which runs with a variable flow across the central landscape from east to west, emptying into the Atlantic Ocean at the Namibian border.

South African Cities
South African Cities
South African Coat Arms
Coat of Arms

The present South African coat of arms was introduced on Freedom Day, 27 April 2000, and replaced the earlier national arms, which had been in use since 1910. The change reflected government’s aim to highlight the democratic change in South Africa and a new sense of patriotism. The first element is the motto, in a green semicircle. The motto is: !ke e: /xarra //ke, which means “Diverse People Unite” in the Khoisan language of the /Xam people. It represents individual effort to harness the unity between thought and action. On a collective scale it calls for the nation to unite in a common sense of belonging and national pride – unity in diversity.

Completing the semicircle are two symmetrically placed pairs of elephant tusks pointing upwards. Within the oval shape formed by the tusks are two symmetrical ears of wheat that in turn frame a centrally placed gold shield. The ears of wheat are a symbol of fertility and the idea of germination, growth and the feasible development of any potential. Elephant tusks symbolise wisdom, strength, moderation and eternity. The shield represents a dual function as a vehicle for the display of identity and of spiritual defence. It contains the primary symbol of the nation.

The human figures of red ochre are depicted in an attitude of greeting, symbolising unity. This also represents the beginning of the individual’s transformation into the greater sense of belonging to the nation and by extension, collective humanity. The spear and knobkerrie (club) represent a dual symbol of defence and authority; and are lying down, which symbolises peace.

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