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Overview of South Africa

South Africa is a country at the southern most tip of Africa. There are 11 official langauges in South Africa: English, Afrikaans, Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu. It has population of 57.7 million. South Africa has 3 capital cities: Cape Town (Legislative), Pretoria (Administrative), and Bloemfontein (Judicial). In total, South Africa has 9 provinces: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, ZwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape, Free State, North West, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo. Each has its own government. South Africa is a democratic republic but the Province of KwaZulu-Natal has a monarchy. South Africa is the largest producer of platinum worldwide and the worlds largest diamond was found here as well.

When doing business in South Africa, it is best to be introduced by a third party. Business in South Africa is all about trust and mutual respect. First meetings will be all about getting to know one another. When arriving for a meeting, be sure to plan in enough time to find the address and safely park your car due to the way the system has been set up. Always be honest and direct in a meeting as vague answers may indicate that you are not trustworthy.

Currency of South Africa

  • South African Rand

Health Insurance and the Social Security system of South Africa

The healthcare system in South Africa is split into the public and the private sector, with 80% of the population using the public services and 20% opting for private healthcare. Public healthcare is available to all and subsidizes the costs up to 40%. The South African constitution guarantees free healthcare for all and so the public hospitals work on a sliding scale, meaning that low-income population only pay a small fee for medication and consultation. However, this results in hospitals being over-crowded and the wait lines long. It is advisable for expats to take out private health insurance as the quality is also much higher than that found in the public healthcare system.

Employer cost of South Africa

The cost for an employer to hire someone in South Africa is a plus of 2.00% to the gross salary.

Salary and bonuses of South Africa

Employees who work on a wage are paid monthly, bi-weekly or weekly. It Is something the employer and employee agree on.

Employees are entitled to a 13th month salary, paid in December.

Public Holidays in South Africa

  • If a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday will be the public holiday.
  • January 1st – New Years Day
  • March 21st – Human Rights Day
  • Friday before Easter Sunday – Good Friday
  • Monday after Easter Sunday – Family Day
  • April 27th – Freedom Day
  • May 1st – Worker’s Day
  • June 16th – Youth Day
  • August 9th – National Women’s Day
  • September 24th – Heritage Day
  • December 16th – Day of Reconciliation
  • December 25th – Christmas
  • December 26th – Day of Goodwill

Working Hours in South Africa

Office hours are from 8:00am till 1:00pm and then from 2:00pm till 4:30pm, Monday till Friday.

A regular work week is 45 hours.

Overtime of up to 10 hours per week are permitted. Employees who earn below a specific threshold are entitled to 150% of their regular salary. Employees who earn more than the threshold are not subject to overtime. However, employers cannot make their employees work overtime if these do not agree to it.

Vacation in South Africa

The minimum annual leave in South Africa is 1.25 days per month – totaling to 15 days per year.

Sick Leave in South Africa

When an employee falls sick in South Africa, he/she must get a medical certificate signed issued by a medical practitioner. The employee has to produce this on the third day of his illness to be eligible for sick pay for the 3 days. During the first 6 months of one’s employment, an employee is entitled to 1 day of sick leave for every 26 days worked. After the first 6 months, an employee is entitled to 30 sick days every 36 months.

Termination/Severance in South Africa

When terminating an employee in South Africa, this has to occur in writing. Notice periods have to be kept. If the employee was with the company for less than 6 months, the notice period is one week. If the employee was with the company between 6 months and 1 year, the notice period is 2 weeks. If the employee has been employed for more than 1 year, the notice period is 4 weeks.

If an employee is dismissed based on the employer’s operational requirements, severance pay must be paid. It is equal to at least one week’s wage for every year of continuous service to the employer.