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South Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa


South Africa ranks 93 out of 162 countries in the Gender Inequality Index, where a high rank equals high equality. Women should always be considered as a particularly vulnerable group though.


South Africa has a Workplace Index score of 3.6, a Marketplace Index score of 4.8 and a Community and Environment Index score of 4.3 in the Children’s Rights and Business Atlas, where countries receive scores between 0 and 10. A score closer to 0 reflects a need for basic children’s rights due diligence, while a higher score reflects a need for enhanced or heightened due diligence. Children should always be considered as a particularly vulnerable group though. 

Persons with Disabilities

Due to differences in data collection and definitions it is difficult to compare countries on disability prevalence rates. Persons with disabilities should always be considered as a particularly vulnerable group though.

Minorities and Indigenous Peoples

According to the World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples, Black African constitute 79.2 % of the population in South Africa. The main numerical minorities are whites (8.9 %), coloured (8.9 %), Indian/Asian (2.5 %) and other (0.5 %). Black South Africans, defined as those whose mother tongue is an African language, share the common experience of the gross disruptions and abuses of white domination and apartheid – notably their wholesale incorporation into a migrant labour system combined with banishment for most to overcrowded and unproductive ‘homelands’. Linguistic and tribal divisions have been of less significance. The first settlers, from the mid-seventeenth century onwards, were primarily from Holland and France, later followed by British, Eastern European Jews, southern Europeans, as well as whites arriving from Angola, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Afrikaners, defined as those considering themselves white and speaking Afrikaans, a derivative of Dutch, still comprise the majority of the white population. Perhaps five to ten million immigrants—estimates vary greatly—are currently living illegally in South Africa. The great majority are from other African countries, particularly the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zimbabwe but increasingly from all parts of the continent. The indigenous peoples of South Africa, comprising San and Khoekhoe, are collectively referred to as the Khoe-San. Khomani San primarily live in Platfontein, Kimberley. Khoehoe live in the Northern Cape Province. Koranna live in Kimberley and Free State provinces. And the Cape Khoekhoe live in the Western Cape and Easter Cape. South Africa does not have formal legislation on indigenous people’s rights and data on their population is not collected.

Migrant Workers​

According to the ILO Global Estimates on International Migrant Workers, migrant workers as a proportion of all workers is 3 % in the subregion Sub-Saharan Africa.

Persons in Armed Conflict

South Africa ranks 89 out of 179 countries in the Fragile States Index, where a high rank equals high fragility. For monthly crisis updates, check out CrisisWatch

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