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South Africa Issues - 2024


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Disputes - international

South Africa-Botswana: none identified

South Africa-Eswatini: Eswatini seeks to reclaim land it says was stolen by South Africa

South Africa-Lesotho: crossborder livestock thieving, smuggling of drugs and arms, and illegal migration are problematic

South Africa-Mozambique: animal poachers cross the South Africa-Mozambique border to hunt wildlife in South Africa’s Kruger National Park; border fences were removed in some areas to allow animals to roam between nature reserves in the two countries; improved patrols, technology, and crossborder cooperation are reducing the problem

South Africa-Namibia: the governments of South Africa and Namibia have not signed or ratified the text of the 1994 Surveyor's General agreement placing the boundary in the middle of the Orange River; the location of the border could affect diamond mining rights; South Africa has always claimed that the northern bank of the Orange River is the border between the two countries, while Namibia’s constitution states that the border lies in the middle of the Orange River

South Africa-various: South Africa has placed military units to assist police operations along the border of Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique to control smuggling, poaching, and illegal migration

South Africa-Zimbabwe: Zimbabweans migrate illegally into South Africa in search of work or smuggle goods to sell at a profit back home

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 22,388 (Somalia), 15,240 (Ethiopia) (mid-year 2022); 42,132 (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (refugees and asylum seekers) (2024)

IDPs: 5,000 (2020)

Trafficking in persons

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List — South Africa does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so; the government increased investigations and convictions of traffickers, investigated and prosecuted some allegedly complicit government officials, coordinated with foreign governments on trafficking investigations and the repatriation of victims, and increased inspections to investigate forced labor; officials adopted an anti-trafficking National Action Plan, accredited two shelters, and expanded awareness-raising activities; however, the government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts, compared with the previous reporting period, to expand its anti-trafficking capacity; while the government approved regulations under the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act on immigration, the regulations had not been put into effect at the end of the reporting period; a lack of inter-agency coordination in identifying, referring, and certifying victims most likely hindered protection efforts; law enforcement personnel lacked the capacity and training to effectively identify and refer victims; victims were inappropriately penalized for offenses committed as a direct result of being trafficked, even after officials identified them as trafficking victims; reports of low-level official complicity persisted; because the government has devoted significant resources to a written plan that, if implemented, would constitute significant efforts to meet the minimum standards, South Africa was granted a waiver per the Trafficking Victims Protection Act from an otherwise required downgrade to Tier 3; therefore, South Africa remained on Tier 2 Watch List for the third consecutive year (2023)

trafficking profile: Human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in South Africa, as well as South Africans abroad; traffickers recruit victims from neighboring countries and rural areas within South Africa and exploit them in sex trafficking locally and in urban centers; adults and children, particularly from poor and rural areas, and migrants are forced into labor in domestic service, mining, food services, construction, criminal activities, agriculture, and the fishing sector; high unemployment and socioeconomic stratification increased the vulnerability of exploitation, particularly of youth, Black women, and foreign migrants; traffickers recruit victims who are unemployed and struggle with drug use, and commonly use substance abuse to control victims, including children; parents with substance abuse problems sometimes exploit their children in sex trafficking to pay for drugs; despite high unemployment, migrants travel from East, Central, and Southern Africa to South Africa looking for economic opportunity, particularly from Ethiopia and Mozambique, and are vulnerable to exploitation; official complicity in trafficking crimes, especially by police and immigration officials, facilitated trafficking; syndicates, often dominated by Nigerians, force women from Nigeria and countries bordering South Africa into commercial sex; South African trafficking rings exploit girls as young as 10 years old in sex trafficking; some brothels, previously identified as locations for sex trafficking, continue to operate with officials’ tacit approval; syndicates also recruit South African women to go to Europe, where some are forced into commercial sex, domestic service, or drug smuggling; Chinese business owners exploit Chinese, South African, and Malawian adults and children in factories, sweatshops, and other businesses; the Cuban government may have forced Cuban medical workers to work in South Africa (2023)

Illicit drugs

leading regional importer of chemicals used in the production of illicit drugs especially synthetic drugs;

NOTE: The information regarding South Africa on this page is re-published from the 2024 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of South Africa 2024 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about South Africa 2024 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 04 May 24, Copyright © 2024 ITA all rights reserved.