South Africa
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currency: South African rand (ZAR)
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South Africa profile
South Africa completely surrounds Lesotho and almost completely surrounds Swaziland
South Africa history
Dutch traders landed at the southern tip of modern day South Africa in 1652 and established a stopover point on the spice route between the Netherlands and the Far East, founding the city of Cape Town. After the British seized the Cape of Good Hope area in 1806, many of the Dutch settlers (the Boers) trekked north to found their own republics. The discovery of diamonds (1867) and gold (1886) spurred wealth and immigration and intensified the subjugation of the native inhabitants. The Boers resisted British encroachments but were defeated in the Boer War (1899-1902); however, the British and the Afrikaners, as the Boers became known, ruled together beginning in 1910 under the Union of South Africa, which became a republic in 1961 after a whites-only referendum. In 1948, the National Party was voted into power and instituted a policy of apartheid - the separate development of the races - which favored the white minority at the expense of the black majority. The African National Congress (ANC) led the opposition to apartheid and many top ANC leaders, such as Nelson MANDELA, spent decades in South Africa's prisons. Internal protests and insurgency, as well as boycotts by some Western nations and institutions, led to the regime's eventual willingness to negotiate a peaceful transition to majority rule. The first multi-racial elections in 1994 brought an end to apartheid and ushered in majority rule under an ANC-led government. South Africa since then has struggled to address apartheid-era imbalances in decent housing, education, and health care. ANC infighting, which has grown in recent years, came to a head in September 2008 when President Thabo MBEKI resigned, and Kgalema MOTLANTHE, the party's General-Secretary, succeeded him as interim president. Jacob ZUMA became president after the ANC won general elections in April 2009.
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Conventional long form: Republic of South Africa
Conventional short form: South Africa
Local long form: Union of South Africa
Local short form: RSA
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South Africa's capital city is Pretoria
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South Africa Constitution:

10 December 1996; note - certified by the Constitutional Court 4 December 1996; was signed by then President MANDELA 10 December 1996; and entered into effect 4 February 1997
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South Africa population growth rate: -0.45%
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South Africa highest point: Njesuthi 3,408 m
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South Africa lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
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About 10% of South Africa's land is arable.
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Orange River (Senqu River) is the Longest River in South Africa
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South Africa birth rate is 19 births/1,000 population
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South Africa infant mortality rate is 42 deaths/1,000 live births
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South Africa fertility rate is 2.25 children born/woman
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South Africa climate:

mostly semiarid; subtropical along east coast; sunny days, cool nights
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Top 10 cities of South Africa with populations (2012 est.) are:
1. Johannesburg: 1,009,035
2. Soweto: 858,644
3. Cape Town: 827,218
4. Durban: 536,644
5. Pretoria: 525,387
6. Mitchell's Plain: 398,650
7. Umlazi: 388,687
8. Katlehong: 349,866
9. Tembisa: 348,693
10. Khayelitsha: 329,002
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South Africa ethnic groups:

black African 79%, white 9.6%, colored 8.9%, Indian/Asian 2.5%
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South Africa Exports:

gold, diamonds, platinum, other metals and minerals, machinery and equipment
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South Africa Imports:

machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, scientific instruments, foodstuffs
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bicameral Parliament consisting of the National Council of Provinces (90 seats; 10 members elected by each of the nine provincial legislatures for five-year terms; has special powers to protect regional interests, including the safeguarding of cultural and linguistic traditions among ethnic minorities) and the National Assembly (400 seats; members elected by popular vote under a system of proportional representation to serve five-year terms)

Administrative Divisions:
9 provinces:
1. Eastern Cape
2. Free State
3. Gauteng
4. KwaZulu-Natal
5. Limpopo
6. Mpumalanga
7. Northern Cape
8. North-West
9. Western Cape
Political parties and leaders:
African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) - Kenneth MESHOE

African National Congress (ANC) - Jacob ZUMA

Congress of the People (COPE) - Mosiuoa LEKOTA

Democratic Alliance (DA) - Helen ZILLE

Freedom Front Plus (FF+) - Pieter MULDER

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) - Mangosuthu BUTHELEZI

Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC) - Motsoko PHEKO

United Christian Democratic Party (UCDP) - Lucas MANGOPE

United Democratic Movement (UDM) - Bantu HOLOMISA