Skip to main content
Map of South-Africa

South Africa

In 2019 South Africa had a population of 58.5 million people. The country has a land surface area of 1,220,000 km². Of this, around 11% of the land is arable. There are significant ecological variations ranging from dry conditions (desert and semi desert) in the west to two bands of higher rainfall in the east. South Africa is considered to be a water scarce country, with this scarcity exacerbated by extreme social and economic inequality. Just 28% of the land surface receives 600 mm or more of rain per annum. This means that most of the land is suitable only for livestock or wildlife production.
Socio-economic indicators browse all

More on this country

News Browse all

Landmark court judgment in South Africa protects land rights

17 June 2021

On the 11th June the Pietermaritzburg High Court ruled that the Ingonyama Trust (created as the last legislative act of the outgoing apartheid government in 1994)  had adopted an illegal policy of forcing people living on land that had occupied for generations to sign leases and pay rent to the…

KB.L Land News Digest South Africa and region 19 November - 31 December 2020

6 January 2021

A review of land news and analysis covering a wide range of issues including farms and farm workers, food security, land governance and administration, land policy, threats to and murder of land activists, land rights and mining and much more

The reed houses where farmworkers live. The houses have no toilets or electricity. (Photo: Brandon van Wyk)

Grape crop brings in millions but farmworkers live a harsh life

13 December 2020

Located about 50 kilometres from the Noordoewer border post that separates Namibia from neighbouring South Africa, Aussenkehr has vast vineyards that stretch as far as the eye can see. Surrounded by a semi-desert area, the vineyards thrive only because of a plentiful supply of water from the nearby…

South Africa


By 2019 16.8% of households lived in informal dwellings across South Africa’s nine major metropolitan municipalities.

Blogs Browse all
Ploughing The Fields of Fall - Western Cape - South Africa_photo by Christopher Griner_FLICKR creative commons

When South African law promotes unlawful land deals…

6 August 2021

By Monica de Souza Louw, Land and Accountability Research Centre (LARC), University of Cape Town * This piece was originally published as part of the online discussion on customary law in Southern Africa Does the South African Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act (TKLA) allow traditional leaders…

Events Browse all
Informal settlements and access to data in the time of COVID: a case for sharing data for decision making

Informal settlements and access to data in the time of COVID: a case for sharing data for decision making

  The spread of COVID-19 in South Africa and other countries in the region has again brought to the fore the fact that very dense, under-serviced, mostly informal, settlements are not healthy places to live. They are also places where the spread of a disease is difficult to prevent or manage.      …