U.S. Department of State
Background Notes: Republic of South Africa, February 1998
Released by the Office of Southern African Affairs, Bureau of African
Official Name: Republic of 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
Terrain: Plateau, savanna, desert, mountains, coastal plains.
Climate: moderate; similar to southern California.
Nationality: Noun and adjective--South African(s).
Annual growth rate (1997 est.): 1.51%.
Population (1997): 38 million.
Composition: black 75%; white 14%; colored 9%; Asian (Indian) 2%.
Languages: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga,
Tswana, Venda, Xhsa, Zulu (all official languages).
Religions: Predominantly Christian; traditional African, Hindu, Muslim,
Education: Years compulsory--7-15 years for all children. The Schools
Bill, 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 (1997 est.): Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births)--53.2.
Life expectancy--58 yrs., women; 54 yrs., men.
Type: Executive--president; bicameral parliament.
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. Nonracial,
democratic constitution came into effect April 27, 1994; rejoined the
Commonwealth in May 1994.
Branches: Executive--president (chief of state) elected to a five-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 non-voting 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, Northern
Province, Western Cape.
Political parties: African National Congress (ANC), National Party (NP),
Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Vryheidsfront/Freedom Front (FF),
Democratic Party (DP), Pan-African Congress (PAC), African Christian
Democratic Party (ACDP), United Democratic Movement (UDM), Azanian
People's Organization (AZAPO), and Conservative Party (CP).
Suffrage--Citizens and permanent residents 18 and older.
GDP (1997 proj.): $115.5 billion.
GDP growth rate (FY 1997-98): 1.5%-1.7%.
GDP per capita (1997 est.): $3,040.
Unemployment (1997 est.): 30%.
Natural resources: Almost all essential commodities, except petroleum
and bauxite. Manufacturing (1997): About 24% of GDP. A world leader in
the areas of railway rolling stock, synthetic fuels, and mining
equipment and machinery.
Industry: Types--minerals, automobiles fabricated material, machinery,
textiles, chemicals, fertilizer.
Trade (1996): Exports--$29.3 billion: gold, other minerals and metals,
agricultural products. Major markets--United Kingdom, U.S., Germany,
Italy, Japan, East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa. Imports--$30.1 billion:
machinery, transport equipment, chemicals, petroleum products, textiles,
scientific instruments. Major suppliers--Germany, U.S., Japan, United
GDP composition (1997): Agriculture 5%, services, 58%, industry 37%;
world's largest producer of platinum, gold, and chromium; also
significant coal production.
Exchange rate (Jan. 31, 1998.): 4.94 rand=U.S.$1.
Until 1991, South African law divided the population into four major
racial categories: Africans (black), whites, coloreds, and Asians.
Although this law has been abolished, many South Africans still view
themselves and each other according to these categories. Africans
comprise about 75% of the population and are divided into a number of
different ethnic groups. Whites comprise about 14% of the population.
They are primarily descendants of Dutch, French, English, and German
settlers who began arriving at the Cape in the late 17th century.
Coloreds are mixed race people, primarily descending from the earliest
settlers and the indigenous peoples. They comprise about 9% of the total
population. Asians descend from Indian workers brought to South Africa
in the mid-19th century to work on the sugar estates in Natal. They
constitute about 2% of the population and are concentrated in the
Education is in a state of flux. Under the apartheid system, schools
were segregated, and the quantity and quality of education varied
significantly across racial groups. Although the laws governing this
segregation have been abolished, the long and arduous process of
restructuring the country's educational system is just beginning. The
challenge is to create a single nondiscriminatory, nonracial system
which offers the same standards of education to all people.
People have inhabited Southern Africa for thousands of years. Members of
the Khoisan language groups are the oldest surviving inhabitants of the
land; however, only a few are left in South Africa today, and they are
located in the western sections. Most of today's black South Africans
belong to the Bantu language group, which migrated south from central
Africa, settling in the Transvaal region sometime before AD 100. The
Nguni, ancestors of the Zulu and Xhosa, occupied most of the eastern
coast by 1500.
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to reach the Cape of Good Hope,
arriving in 1488. However, permanent white settlement did not begin
until 1652, when the Dutch East India Company established a provisioning
station on the Cape. In subsequent decades, French Huguenot refugees,
the Dutch, and Germans began to settle in the Cape. Collectively, they
form the Afrikaner segment of today's population. The establishment of
these settlements had far-reaching social and political effects on the
groups already settled in the area, leading to upheaval in these
societies and the subjugation of their people.
By 1779, European settlements extended throughout the southern part of
the Cape and east toward the Great Fish River. It was here that Dutch
authorities and the Xhosa fought the first frontier war. The British
gained control of the Cape of Good Hope at the end of the 18th century.
Subsequent British settlement and rule marked the beginning of a long
conflict between the Afrikaners and the English.
Beginning in 1836, partly to escape British rule and cultural hegemony
and partly out of resentment at the recent abolition of slavery, many
Afrikaner farmers (Boers) undertook a northern migration which became
known as the "Great Trek." This movement brought them into contact and
conflict with African groups in the area, the most formidable of which
were the Zulus. Under their powerful leader, Shaka (1787-1828), the
Zulus conquered most of the territory between the Drakensburg Mountains
and the sea (now Kwazulu-Natal).
In 1828, Shaka was assassinated and replaced by his half-brother
Dingane. In 1838, Dingane was defeated and deported by the Voortrekkers
(people of the Great Trek) at the battle of Blood River. The Zulus,
nonetheless, remained a potent force, defeating the British in the
historic battle of Isandhlwana before themselves being finally conquered
In 1852 and 1854, the independent Boer Republics of the Transvaal and
Orange Free State were created. Relations between the republics and the
British Government were strained. The discovery of diamonds at Kimberley
in 1870 and the discovery of large gold deposits in the Witwatersrand
region of the Transvaal in 1886 caused an influx of European (mainly
British) immigration and investment. Many blacks also moved into the
area to work in the mines. The construction by mine owners of hostels to
house and control their workers set patterns that later extended
throughout the region.
Boer reactions to this influx and British political intrigues led to the
Anglo-Boer Wars of 1880-81 and 1899-1902. British forces prevailed in
the conflict, and the republics were incorporated into the British
Empire. In May 1910, the two republics and the British colonies of the
Cape and Natal formed the Union of South Africa, a self-governing
dominion of the British Empire. The Union's constitution kept all
political power in the hands of whites.
In 1912, the South Africa Native National Congress was formed in
Bloemfontein and eventually became known as the African National
Congress (ANC). Its goals were the elimination of restrictions based on
color and the enfranchisement of and parliamentary representation for
blacks. Despite these efforts, the government continued to pass laws
limiting the rights and freedoms of blacks.
In 1948, the National Party (NP) won the all-white elections and began
passing legislation codifying and enforcing an even stricter policy of
white domination and racial separation known as "apartheid"
(separateness). In the early 1960s, following a protest in Sharpville in
which 69 protesters were killed by police and 180 injured, the ANC and
Pan-African Congress (PAC) were banned. Nelson Mandela and many other
anti-apartheid leaders were convicted and imprisoned on charges of
The ANC and PAC were forced underground and fought apartheid through
guerrilla warfare and sabotage. In May 1961, South Africa relinquished
its dominion status and declared itself a republic. Later that year, it
withdrew from the Commonwealth, in part because of international
protests against apartheid. In 1984, a new constitution came into effect
in which whites allowed coloreds and Asians a limited role in the
national government and control over their own affairs in certain areas.
Ultimately, however, all power remained in white hands. Blacks remained
Popular uprisings in black and colored townships in 1976 and 1985 helped
to convince some NP members of the need for change. Secret discussions
between those members and Nelson Mandela began in 1986. In February
1990, State President F.W. de Klerk--who had come to power in September
1989--announced the unbanning of the ANC, the PAC, and all other anti-
apartheid groups. Two weeks later, Nelson Mandela was released from
In 1991, the Group Areas Act, Land Acts, and the Population Registration
Act--the last of the so-called "pillars of apartheid"--were abolished. A
long series of negotiations ensued, resulting in a new constitution
promulgated into law in December 1993. The country's first nonracial
elections were held on April 26-29, 1994, resulting in the installation
of Nelson Mandela as President on May 10, 1994.
Following the 1994 elections, South Africa was governed under an Interim
Constitution. This constitution required the Constituent Assembly (CA)
to draft and approve a permanent constitution by May 9, 1996. After
review by the Constitutional Court and intensive negotiations within the
CA, a revised draft was certified by the Constitutional Court on
December 2, 1996. President Mandela signed the new Constitution into law
on December 10, and it entered into force on February 3, 1997.
The Government of National Unity (GNU) established under the Interim
Constitution remains in effect until the next national elections in
1999. The parties originally comprising the GNU--the ANC, the NP, and
the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP)--shared executive power. On June 30,
1996, the NP withdrew from the GNU to become part of the opposition.
The Parliament consists of two houses--the National Assembly and the
National Council of Provinces--which are responsible for drafting the
laws of the republic. The National Assembly also has specific control
over bills relating to monetary matters. The current 400-member National
Assembly was retained under the new Constitution, although the
Constitution allows for a range of between 350 and 400 members. The
Assembly is elected by a system of "list proportional representation."
Each of the parties appearing on the ballot submits a rank-ordered list
of candidates. The voters then cast their ballots for one party. Seats
in the Assembly are allocated based on the percentage of votes each
party receives. In the 1994 elections, the ANC won 252 seats in the
Assembly, the NP 82, the IFP 43, the Vyheidsfront/Freedom Front (FF) 9,
the Democratic Party (DP) 7, the Pan-African Congress (PAC) 5, and the
African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) 2.
The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) consists of 90 members, 10 from
each of the nine provinces. The NCOP replaced the former Senate as the
second chamber of Parliament and was created to give a greater voice to
provincial interests. It must approve legislation that involves shared
national and provincial competencies as defined by an annex to the
Constitution. Each provincial delegation consists of six permanent and
four rotating delegates.
The president is the executive head of state. Following the April 1994
elections, the National Assembly elected Nelson Mandela president. In
addition, both the largest and second largest parties--the ANC and NP--
chose one executive deputy president each. With the withdrawal of the NP
from the GNU, the ANC's Thabo Mbeki is currently the sole executive
deputy president. The president's responsibilities include assigning
cabinet portfolios, signing bills into law, and serving as commander in
chief of the military. The president must work closely with the
executive deputy president and the cabinet. There are 27 posts in the
cabinet, 24 of which are currently held by the ANC and 3 by the IFP.
The third arm of the central government is an independent judiciary. The
Constitutional Court is the highest court for interpreting and deciding
constitutional issues, while the Supreme Court of Appeal is the highest
court for non-constitutional matters. Most cases are heard in the
extensive system of High Courts and Magistrates Courts. The
Constitution's Bill of Rights provides for due process, including the
right to a fair, public trial within a reasonable time of being charged
and the right to appeal to a higher court. The Bill of Rights also
guarantees fundamental political and social rights of South Africa's
The new Government of South Africa has made remarkable progress in
consolidating the nation's peaceful transition to democracy. Programs to
improve the delivery of essential social services to the majority of the
population are underway. Access to better opportunities in education and
business is becoming more widespread. Nevertheless, transforming South
Africa's society to remove the legacy of apartheid will be a long-term
process requiring the sustained commitment of the leaders and people of
the nation's disparate groups.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), chaired by 1984 Nobel
Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, has helped to advance the
reconciliation process. Constituted in 1996 and due to finish its work
in 1998, the TRC is empowered to investigate apartheid-era human rights
abuses committed between 1960 and May 10, 1994, to grant amnesty to
those who committed politically motivated crimes and to recommend
compensation to victims of abuses. The TRC's mandate is part of the
larger process of reconciling the often conflicting political, economic,
and cultural interests held by the many peoples that make up South
Africa's diverse population. The ability of the government and people to
agree on many basic questions of how to order the country's new society
will be a critical challenge stretching into the 21st century.
One important issue continues to be the relationship of provincial and
local administrative structures to the national government. Prior to
April 27, 1994, South Africa was divided into four provinces and 10
black "homelands," four of which were considered independent by the
South African Government. Both the Interim Constitution and the new 1997
Constitution abolished this system and substituted nine provinces. Each
province has an elected legislature and chief executive--the provincial
premier. Although in form a federal system, in practice the nature of
the relationship between the central and provincial governments has yet
to be determined and is the subject of considerable debate, particularly
among groups desiring a greater measure of autonomy from the central
government. A key step in defining the relationship came in 1997, when
provincial governments were given more than half of central government
funding and permitted to develop and manage their own budgets.
Although South Africa's economy is in many areas highly developed, the
exclusionary nature of apartheid and distortions caused in part by the
country's international isolation until the 1990s have left major
weaknesses. The economy is now in a process of transition as the
government seeks to address the inequities of apartheid, stimulate
growth, and create jobs. Business, meanwhile, is becoming more
integrated into the international system, and foreign investment has
increased dramatically over the past several years. Still, the economic
disparities between population groups are expected to persist for many
years, remaining an area of priority attention for the government.
The new Constitution's Bill of Rights provides extensive guarantees,
including the following: equality before the law and prohibitions
against discrimination; the right to life, privacy, property, and
freedom and security of the person; prohibition against slavery and
forced labor; and freedom of speech, religion, assembly, and
association. The legal rights of criminal suspects also are enumerated,
as are citizens' entitlements to a safe environment, housing, education,
and health care. The Constitution provides for an independent and
impartial judiciary, and, in practice, these provisions are respected.
Since the abolition of apartheid, levels of political violence in South
Africa have dropped dramatically. In some areas, such as parts of
KwaZulu-Natal Province, tensions remain extremely high. Political and
extrajudicial killings continue to occur. Violent crime and organized
criminal activity is at high levels and is a grave concern. Partly as a
result, vigilante action and mob justice sometime occur.
Some members of the police commit abuses, and deaths in police custody
and as a result of excessive force remain serious problems. The
government has taken action to investigate and punish some of those who
commit such abuses. In April 1997, the government established an
Independent Complaints Directorate to investigate deaths in police
custody and deaths resulting from police action.
Although South Africa's society is undergoing a rapid transformation,
discrimination against women and the disabled continues, and violence
against women and children is a serious problem.
Principal Government Officials
State President--Nelson Mandela (ANC)
Executive Deputy President--Thabo Mbeki (ANC)
Foreign Affairs--Alfred Nzo (ANC)
Justice--Dullah Omar (ANC)
Defense--Joe Modise (ANC)
Finance--Trevor Manuel (ANC)
Home Affairs--Mangosuthu Buthelezi (IFP)
Safety and Security--Sydney Mufamadi (ANC)
Trade and Industry--Alec Erwin (ANC)
Agriculture and Land Affairs--Derek Hanekom (ANC)
Health--Nkosazana Zuma (ANC)
Welfare and Population Development--Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi (ANC)
Education--Sibusiso Bengu (ANC)
Labor--Tito Mboweni (ANC)
Art, Culture, Science and Technology--Lionel Mtshali (IFP)
Water Affairs and Forestry--Kader Asmal (ANC)
Environment Affairs and Tourism--Pallo Jordan (ANC)
Mineral and Energy Affairs--Penuell Maduna (ANC)
Transport--Mac Maharaj (ANC)
Provincial Affairs and Constitutional Development--Mohammed Valli Moosa
Housing--Sankie Mthembi-Mahanyele (ANC)
Posts, Telecommunications, and Broadcasting--Jay Naidoo (ANC)
Public Works--Jeff Radebe (ANC)
Public Enterprises--Stella Sigcau (ANC)
Public Service and Administration--Zola Skweyiya (ANC)
Sport and Recreation--Steve Tshwete (ANC)
Correctional Services--Sipo Mzimela (IFP)
The Republic of South Africa maintains an embassy in the United States
at 3051 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008; tel. (202) 232-
South Africa has a productive and industrialized economy that
paradoxically exhibits many characteristics associated with developing
countries, including a division of labor between formal and informal
sectors--and uneven distribution of wealth and income. The formal
sector, based on mining, manufacturing, services, and agriculture, is
The transition to a democratic, nonracial government, begun in early
1990, stimulated a debate on the direction of economic policies to
achieve sustained economic growth while at the same time redressing the
socioeconomic disparities created by apartheid. The Government of
National Unity's initial blueprint to address this problem was the
Reconstruction and Development Program (RDP). The RDP was designed to
create programs to improve the standard of living for the majority of
the population by providing housing--a planned 1 million new homes in 5
years--basic services, education, and health care. While a specific
"ministry" for the RDP no longer exists, a number of government
ministries and offices are charged with supporting RDP programs and
In June 1996, the government announced a new market-driven economic
plan--"Growth, Employment and Redistribution: A Macroeconomic Strategy"
(GEAR). The GEAR emphasizes a private sector/market-based approach;
parastatal privatization; and conservative fiscal and monetary policies
to facilitate economic growth, job creation, and accelerated trade
liberalization. South Africa aims to maintain an attractive business
environment and encourages both foreign and domestic investment.
South Africa has a sophisticated financial structure with a large and
active stock exchange that ranks 19th in the world in terms of total
market capitalization. The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) performs
all central banking functions. The SARB is independent and now operates
in much the same way as Western central banks, influencing interest
rates and controlling liquidity through its interest rates on funds
provided to private sector banks. Quantitative credit controls and
administrative control of deposit and lending rates have largely
The South African Government has taken steps to gradually reduce
remaining foreign exchange controls, which apply mainly to South African
residents. Private citizens are now allowed a one-time investment of up
to 200,000 rand in offshore accounts and are free to hold foreign
currency accounts in South African banks. In January 1998, the Finance
Ministry removed the ceiling on foreign exchange holdings for commercial
Trade and Investment
South Africa has rich mineral resources. It is the world's largest
producer and exporter of gold and also exports a significant amount of
coal. The value-added processing of minerals to produce ferroalloys,
stainless steels, and similar products is a major industry and an
important growth area. The country's diverse manufacturing industry is a
world leader in several specialized sectors, including railway rolling
stock, synthetic fuels, and mining equipment and machinery.
Agriculture accounts for about 5% of the gross domestic product. Major
crops include citrus and deciduous fruits, corn, wheat, dairy products,
sugarcane, tobacco, wine, and wool. South Africa has many developed
irrigation schemes and generally is a net exporter of food.
South Africa's transportation infrastructure is well developed,
supporting both domestic and regional needs. The Johannesburg
International Airport serves as a hub for flights to other Southern
African countries. The domestic telecommunications infrastructure
provides modern and efficient service to urban areas, including
widespread access to cellular and internet services. In 1997, Telkom,
the South African telecommunications parastatal, was partly privatized
and entered into a strategic equity partnership with a consortium of two
companies, including a U.S. telecommunications company. The South
African Government pledged to reinvest $1 billion of the purchase price
into to Telkom to facilitate network modernization and expansion into
South Africa's GDP is expected to increase gradually during the next few
years. Annual GDP growth since 1994 has fluctuated between an estimate
of 1.5% and 3.4%. The government estimates that the economy must achieve
growth at a minimum of 6% to offset unemployment, which is officially
stated to be about 30%. In an effort to boost economic growth and spur
job creation, the government has launched special investment corridors
to promote development in specific regions, and also is working to
encourage small, medium, and microenterprise development. One of the
great successes of the ANC government has been to get CPI inflation,
which had been running in the double digits for over 20 years, under
control. By December 1997, inflation had fallen to 6.1%. The government
also has made inroads into reducing the fiscal deficit and increasing
foreign currency reserves. Several factors could impact on this positive
direction, including repercussions from financial crises in other areas
of the world, low prices for minerals and metals, particularly gold, and
continued lack of fiscal accountability by South Africa's provincial
Exports and imports account for 44% of the GDP. South Africa's major
trading partners include the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany,
and Japan. South Africa's trade with other Sub-Saharan African
countries, particularly those in the Southern Africa region, has
increased substantially. South Africa is a member of the Southern
African Customs Union (SACU) and the Southern African Development
Community (SADC). In August 1996, South Africa signed a regional trade
protocol agreement with its SADC partners. While the agreement has yet
to be ratified, negotiations continue to finalize tariff bindings and
move the region toward economic integration.
South Africa has made great progress in dismantling its old economic
system, which was based on import substitution, high tariffs and
subsidies, anti-competitive behavior, and extensive government
intervention in the economy. The new leadership has moved to reduce the
government's role in the economy and to promote private sector
investment and competition. It has significantly reduced tariffs and
export subsidies, loosened exchange controls, cut in half the secondary
tax on corporate dividends, and improved enforcement of intellectual
property laws. It is in the process of drafting a new competition law. A
U.S.-South Africa bilateral tax treaty went into effect on January 1,
South Africa is a contracting party to the Generalized Agreement on
Tariffs and Trade and is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
U.S. products qualify for South Africa's most- favored-nation tariff
rates. Many South African shipments to the United States receive U.S.
Generalized System of Preferences treatment. South Africa still
maintains a list of restricted goods requiring import permits.
Nevertheless, the government remains committed to the simplification and
continued reduction of tariffs within the WTO framework and maintains
active discussions with that body and its major trading partners.
As a result of a November 1993 bilateral agreement, the Overseas Private
Investment Corporation (OPIC) can now assist U.S. investors in the South
African market with services such as political risk insurance and loans
and loan guarantees. In July 1996, the United States and South Africa
signed an investment fund protocol for a $120 million OPIC fund that
will make equity investments in South and Southern Africa. The Trade and
Development Agency also has been actively involved in funding
feasibility studies and identifying investment opportunities in South
Africa for U.S. businesses.
South Africa's Government is deeply concerned about managing the
country's rich and varied natural resources in a responsible and
sustainable manner. It 1997, it ratified the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change. Numerous South African non-governmental
organizations are engaged in the public policy debate on climate change,
habitat conservation, and sustainable development.
South African forces fought on the Allied side in World Wars I and II
and participated in the post-war UN force in Korea. South Africa was a
founding member of the League of Nations and in 1927 established a
Department of External Affairs with diplomatic missions in the main West
European countries and in the United States. At the founding of the
League of Nations, South Africa was given the mandate to govern South-
West Africa, now Namibia, which had been a German colony before World
War I. In 1990, South Africa granted independence to Namibia with the
exception of the enclave of Walvis Bay, which was reintegrated into
Namibia in March 1994. After South Africa held its first nonracial
election in April 1994, most sanctions imposed by the international
community in opposition to the system of apartheid were lifted. On June
1, 1994, South Africa rejoined the Commonwealth, and on June 23, 1994,
its credentials to the UN General Assembly were accepted. South Africa
also joined the Organization of African Unity (OAU).
Having emerged from the international isolation of the apartheid era,
South Africa has become a leading international actor. Its principal
foreign policy objective is to develop good relations with all
countries, especially its neighbors in the SADC and the other members of
the OAU. In August 1998, South Africa assumes the chair of the Non-
U.S.-SOUTH AFRICAN RELATIONS
The United States has maintained an official presence in South Africa
since 1799, when an American consulate was opened in Cape Town. The U.S.
Embassy is located in Pretoria, and consulates general are in
Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town. Americans and South Africans also
have many non-governmental ties; for example, black and white American
missionaries have a long history of activity in South Africa.
From the 1970s through the early 1990s, U.S.-South Africa relations were
severely affected by South Africa's racial policies. However, since the
abolition of apartheid and democratic elections of April 1994, the
United States has enjoyed an excellent bilateral relationship with South
Africa. During President Nelson Mandela's October 1994 state visit to
the United States, the U.S.-South Africa Binational Commission was
created. The Commission, which meets biannually, is designed to promote
cooperation between the two countries in such areas as trade and
investment, agriculture, human resources development and education,
conservation and the environment, energy and technology, and defense.
Through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the
United States also provides assistance to South Africa to help it meet
its development goals. Peace Corps volunteers began working in South
Africa in 1997.
Principal U.S. Officials
Ambassador--James A. Joseph
Deputy Chief of Mission and Minister-Counselor--Robert M. Pringle
Commercial Minister-Counselor--Millard W. Arnold, Jr.
Economic Minister-Counselor--Ann R. Berry
Political Counselor--Reed Fendrick
Administrative Counselor--Michael J. Hinton
Public Affairs Officer--Thomas Hull
Defense Attache--Col. Keith Betsch, USA
USAID Director--Aaron Williams
Agricultural Attache--Dr. Besa L. Kotati
Consul General Cape Town--April Glaspie
Consul General Durban--Frederick C. Hassani
Consul General Johannesburg--Gregory W. Engle
TRAVEL AND BUSINESS INFORMATION
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The login is travel and the password is info (Note: Lower case is
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Diplomatic Security. Consular Affairs Trips for Travelers publication
series, which contain information on obtaining passports and planning a
safe trip abroad, can be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents,
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225-5674 (TDD: 1-900-225-7778). Major credit card users (for a flat rate
of $4.95) may call 1-888-362-8668 (TDD: 1-888-498-3648)
Travelers can check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A hotline at
(404) 332-4559 gives the most recent health advisories, immunization
recommendations or requirements, and advice on food and drinking water
safety for regions and countries. A booklet entitled Health Information
for International Travel (HHS publication number CDC-95-8280) is
available from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC
20402, tel. (202) 512-1800.
Information on travel conditions, visa requirements, currency and
customs regulations, legal holidays, and other items of interest to
travelers also may be obtained before your departure from a country's
embassy and/or consulates in the U.S. (for this country, see "Principal
Government Officials" listing in this publication).
U.S. citizens who are long-term visitors or traveling in dangerous areas
are encouraged to register at the U.S. embassy upon arrival in a country
(see "Principal U.S. Embassy Officials" listing in this publication).
This may help family members contact you in case of an emergency.
Further Electronic Information:
Department of State Foreign Affairs Network. Available on the Internet,
DOSFAN provides timely, global access to official U.S. foreign policy
information. Updated daily, DOSFAN includes Background Notes; Dispatch,
the official magazine of U.S. foreign policy; daily press briefings;
Country Commercial Guides; directories of key officers of foreign
service posts; etc. DOSFAN's World Wide Web site is at
U.S. Foreign Affairs on CD-ROM (USFAC). Published annually by the U.S.
Department of State, USFAC archives information on the Department of
State Foreign Affairs Network, and includes an array of official foreign
policy information from 1990 to the present. Contact the Superintendent
of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, P.O. Box 371954,
Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. To order, call (202) 512-1800 or fax (202)
National Trade Data Bank (NTDB). Operated by the U.S. Department of
Commerce, the NTDB contains a wealth of trade-related information. It is
available on the Internet (www.stat-usa.gov) and on CD-ROM. Call the
NTDB Help-Line at (202) 482-1986 for more information.
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