South Africa is a republic which is surrounded by land at the top and the two oceans, Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean. Located on the southern tip of Africa, with an area of 1.2 million sq. km its location is also responsible in a major way for the economic and social-political milieu of the republic of South Africa. It has four capital cities namely; administrative, Pretoria; legislative, Cape Town; judicial, Bloemfontein. Other famous cities include Johannesburg, Durban and Port Elizabeth. The population is 49.3 million as of 2009 composed of black 79.7%; white 9.1%; colored 8.8%; Asian (Indian) 2.2%. The annual population growth rate as of 2009 was 1.2%. Languages spoken are: Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, and Xitsonga all being official languages. Religion is predominantly Christian; traditional African, Hindu, Muslim and Jewish. [Background Note: South Africa, 2010]
The government is parliamentary democracy. The union of South Africa was created on May 31, 1910; became a sovereign state within British Empire in 1934; became republic on May 31, 1961; left Commonwealth in October 1968; rejoined the Commonwealth in June 194. The constitution entered into force on February 2, 1997. Government branches: Executivepresident (chief of state) elected to a 5-year term by the National Assembly. Legislativebicameral 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. JudicialConstitutional Court interprets and decides constitutional issues; Supreme Court of Appeal is the highest court for interpreting and deciding non-constitutional matters [Background Note: South Africa, 2010].
GDP (2009): $287 billion.
Real GDP growth.