I added "conventional" abbreviations for the provinces.
I've made small changes to the areas of the provinces, based on a new and better source. The Municipal Demarcation Board website gives areas accurate to .00001 km.², or ten square meters (!). The areas were actually changed as a result of the 12th amendment to the Constitution of South Africa. Thanks to Rif Winfield for compiling data from the MDB site.
Mpuma Koloni and KwaXhosa are still being considered as new names for Eastern Cape province.
ISO 3166-2 Newsletter Number I-9 was published on 2007-11-28. It adds the names of the country, and of its divisions, in nine other South African languages.
We have another complicated situation in Pretoria. The City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality was created on 2000-12-05, by merging a number of smaller entities, including the Greater Pretoria Metropolitan Council. The new metropolitan municipality covers an area of about 3,200 km.², including all of the city of Pretoria (and several others). The Pretoria City Council was downgraded to a local municipal council. Then on 2005-03-07 the municipal council voted to rename the capital to Tshwane. The South Africa Geographical Names Council approved this change of name on 2005-05-26. It will become official when approved by the Minister for Arts and Culture. (Thanks to Ralph Aytoun for help figuring this out. A partisan pro-Pretoria summary of the name change issues may be found in this brief .)
The City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality is divided into 76 municipal wards, plus a few slivers of land not in any ward. It is also divided into a large number of townships, overlapping with the wards, with a lot of territory not in any township. I believe one of the wards, Pretoria Central, is the nucleus of the old Pretoria city, and will retain that name. Tshwane, originally after a native chief's name, has been the name used for Pretoria by some native groups for years. Local authorities also gloss it as Zulu for "we are the same". The name Pretoria was chosen to commemorate Andries Pretorius, reminding many citizens of the despised colonial past.
FIPS Publication Change Notice No. 9, affecting FIPS PUB 10-4, was issued on 2004-10-01. It shows the change of the name of Northern Province to Limpopo.
ISO 3166-2 Newsletter Number I-6 was published on 2004-03-08. It shows the change of the name of
Northern Province to Limpopo. ISO was notified of this change by the South African Department of
Arts and Culture (the department in charge of geographic names) on 2003-11-05. ISO has changed the
code for this province to
Northern Province had already begun using its new name, Limpopo, by January, 2002. However, the province's Web site stated that "The new name of the Province will become official after the amendment of section 103(1)(g) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. A request by the legislature has been submitted to Parliament for the necessary amendment to be submitted." The Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology must accept the name change for it to become official. That happened on 2003-06-11.
International standard ISO 3166-2 was published on 1998-12-15. It superseded ISO/DIS 3166-2 (draft international standard). The draft standard showed a division of South Africa into nine provinces, with a two-letter code for each. The final standard shows the same nine provinces, but four of their codes have been changed. The new set of codes is shown in the table below.
The book "Administrative Subdivisions of Countries" listed preliminary figures from the 1996 census, with a warning about the large margins of error. Statistics South Africa has released final data, corrected for undercount, as shown below.
|Short name||SOUTH AFRICA|
|Language||Afrikaans (af), English (en)|
|Capital||Pretoria, Cape Town, Bloemfontein|
In 1900, the Boer republics of Orange Free State and Transvaal were fighting Great Britain and the British colonies of Cape of Good Hope and Natal in the Boer War. The British won, and the peace treaty signed on 1902-05-31 made British colonies of all four lands. On 1910-05-31, they united to form the Union of South Africa (Afrikaans: Unie van Zuid-Afrika, but the Afrikaans spelling was changed from Zuid to Suid a few years later). The country voted on independence in 1960, and on 1961-05-31 it became independent under the name Republic of South Africa. Even before independence, the South African government was planning to address its racial problems by creating homelands, or Bantustans: black-majority enclaves within its territory. The first of the Bantustans was Transkei, delimited in 1963 and granted nominal independence in 1976. There were eventually ten homelands, of which four became nominally independent. None of them ever received international recognition. In 1994, the segregationist apartheid policy came to an end, and the homelands were re-incorporated into the country. South Africa held a mandate over South-West Africa for many years (see Namibia).
descriptive: Southern part of African continent
South Africa is divided into nine provinces (Afrikaans: provinsies).
|Eastern Cape||EC||6,436,761||6,302,525||169,952||65,619||Bhisho||Cape of Good Hope|
|Free State||FS||2,706,776||2,633,504||129,821||50,124||Bloemfontein||Orange Free State|
|KwaZulu-Natal||KZN||9,426,019||8,417,021||92,303||35,638||Pietermaritzburg||Natal, Cape of Good Hope|
|Northern Cape||NC||822,726||840,321||362,591||139,997||Kimberley||Cape of Good Hope|
|North-West||NW||3,669,350||3,354,825||116,180||44,857||Mmabatho||Transvaal, Cape of Good Hope|
|Western Cape||WC||4,524,335||3,956,875||129,448||49,980||Cape Town||Cape of Good Hope|
South Africa uses four-digit postal codes. The numbers are not aligned with province boundaries.
See the Municipalities of South Africa page.
The provinces were formerly subdivided into magisterial districts and administrative districts. Some of these districts straddled the border between two provinces. The 1996 constitution established a division into 46 district municipalities and 6 metropolitan municipalities. Again, three of the district municipalities lie partly in two provinces each.
Eastern Cape had an exclave within KwaZulu-Natal, around the town of Umzimkulu. It coincides with the part of Transkei that used to lie within Natal. This exclave was apparently eliminated under the 12th and 13th amendments to the Constitution of South Africa.
Western Cape includes the Prince Edward Islands.
The Bantustans were generally composed of many scattered enclaves. The four Bantustans that were granted independence by South Africa, called the TBVC countries for short, were Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda, and Ciskei. Here are the capitals and approximate locations, relative to the old provinces, of all ten Bantustans. (The actual number of enclaves changed as boundaries were redrawn.)
|Cape of Good Hope||C.P.||5,514,413||721,001||Cape Town|
|Orange Free State||O.F.S.||1,929,369||129,152||Bloemfontein|
Note: figures for 1980 and 1991 exclude population of Bantustans.
|Back to main statoids page||Last updated: 2012-10-13|
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