With a population of 53 million (2013), South Africa has 11 official languages. Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans and English are the most commonly spoken first languages. The country has three capital cities: Pretoria/Tshwane (administrative), Cape Town (legislative) and Bloemfontein (judicial). It is Africa's second largest economy by GDP (after Nigeria) and the continent's only member of the G20. South Africa is a member of the Commonwealth and an active participant in international forums. It was elected by the UN General Assembly to serve on the UN Security Council from 2006 till 2008 and again from 2010 till 2012. South Africa is also a member of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), currently chaired by Australia and the Southern African Development Community. With Australia, South Africa jointly hosts the AUD1.9 billion Square Kilometre Array radio telescope project involving institutions from more than 20 countries.
South Africa is Australia's largest export market in Africa and second-largest trade partner, representing 27 per cent of total two-way trade with Africa in 2013 (AUD3.1 billion). An MOU between Australia and South Africa was signed in 2010, recognising the long history of cooperation between the two countries and aiming to strengthen political, economic and strategic engagement.
Australia maintains a High Commission in Pretoria. South Africa is represented in Australia by a High Commission in Canberra.
Economic and trade information
- Travel advice for South Africa | See our Travel Information page
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- Assistance to Australian travellers: Consular Services Charter