- The South African government has formally abandoned the apartheid ideology,
and introduced a wide range of reforms, so the long-standing stigma of past
political instability is now fading.
- Although South Africa is in many respects a developed country, much of its
population lives in poverty.
- The high level of crime in South Africa is seen as a significant threat
to the country's overall stability. Foreigners should exercise particular
caution in the areas surrounding hotels and public transportation centers.
- South Africa has an enormous wealth in natural resources, including abundant
gold, platinum, aluminum and chrome.
- South Africa has excellent infrastructure in telecommunications, road, rail,
air and financial services.
- South Africa also has abundant energy resources and provides over half of
- The South African government is committed to attracting international investment.
- South Africa boasts the largest economy in Africa.
- The US is the largest single investor into South Africa with over 500 US
companies currently doing business in South Africa
- Located on the southernmost tip of the African continent, South Africa provides
easy access not only to surrounding countries, but also to India and the Far
- Automotive component industry
- Clothing and textiles
- Information technology
- Manufactured jewelry
- Stainless steel
- Telecommunications Equipment
- Telecommunications Services
- Information Technology
- Computer Software
- Computer Services
- Medical Equipment
- Chemical products
- It is best for overseas firms to contract with a South African agent for
the purposes of marketing to the South African population.
- South Africa is very culturally diverse, with 11 official languages. Commercially,
English is used most frequently.
- Decisions are generally made at the top level of authority, so it is key
to send senior company staff to ensure smooth negotiations.
- It is becoming increasingly important to do business directly with provincial
authorities as a result of decentralization efforts of the federal government.
- Tough bargaining is not a trait of South African business culture.
- South African businesspeople expect quick responses.
- American companies that bring customer focused attitudes and work practices
will find themselves with a competitive advantage in the South African market.
- South African business culture is generally very similar to that of the
- South African business people dress conservatively; loud sports jackets
and casual pants are rarely seen in the work environment.
- South Africans are very punctual and will make every effort to be on time
- A handshake is the standard greeting.†
- Do not address business associates by their first names unless they have
invited you to.
- Because of cultural expectations, aggressive behavior by women may be considered
DOs††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††
- Use titles when applicable
- Tipping is customary at 10-15 percent.
- In initial conversation, do not ask about an Afrikaner's marital status
- Exposure of valuables is an open invitation of theft.†
The South African legal system is a mixture of Roman-Dutch law imported by
the Dutch in 1652 and English Common law (since 1906). The South African courts
are open to foreigners with the same terms and conditions that are applied to
the citizens of South Africa.