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South Africa: Facts & Stats

Demographics | Economy | TRANSPORTATION  | Culture



South Africa has the longest road network of any country in Africa. Its national road network currently covers 7,200 km. The roads include 1,400 km of dual carriageway freeway, 440 km of single carriageway freeway and 5 300 km of single carriage main road with unlimited access. 27 mainline toll plazas service approximately 1900 km of toll roads. In 2003/04 provincial budgets for infrastructure and road development rose by 7,5% to R5,1 billion. Construction of the N4 Maputo Corridor Toll-Road has been completed, one of the few privately financed cross-border toll-roads in the world.

A road-classification system includes the following categories:
  • 9,600 km of surfaced national toll and non-toll roads
  • 56,000 km of surfaced provincial roads
  • 300,000 km of gravel provincial roads
  • 168,000 km of surfaced and un-surfaced urban roads
  • 221,000 km of unclassified roads (predominantly access roads in rural communities and roads in settlements on the urban periphery).


Spoornet is the largest division of Transnet, and specialises in freight transport and long-distance passenger services. It also operates the Blue Train, a luxury train service.

Transnet has an annual turnover of R13,1 billion and utilises 30,400 km of track, 2,410 locomotives, 88,000 wagons, and 2,097 passenger coaches. With 80% of Africa’s rail infrastructure, Spoornet also connects with other networks in sub-Saharan Africa.

Spoornet plans to invest R1 billion a year in rail transport over the next 15 years.

Other specialist Spoornet divisions
  • Coal Line – Responsible for transporting export coal from Mpumalanga to the Richards Bay Coal Terminal.
  • Ore Line – Which hauls iron ore over the 861 km track from Sishen in the Northern Cape to Saldanha Bay.
  • Shosholoza Meyl – Which offers daily inter-city passenger services.
  • Metrorail – Which provides commuter rail services in the Witwatersrand, Pretoria, Western Cape, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. Metrorail transports two million commuters to and from work daily.


The Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) owns and operates the nine principal airports, including the three major international airports in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. The others are domestic airports in Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth, East London, George, Kimberley and Upington. ACSA’s flagship development, the new R750-million domestic terminal at Johannesburg International Airport, will increase its capacity to serve more than 18 million passengers annually.

ACSA has committed R1 billion to the upgrading and development of Cape Town International Airport. A R10-million interim expansion project to extend the domestic terminal was completed in May 2003.

South Africa’s international airports are:
  • Johannesburg
  • Cape Town
  • Durban
  • Bloemfontein
  • Port Elizabeth
  • Pilanesberg
  • Lanseria
  • Gateway (Polokwane)
  • Nelspruit
  • Upington
  • Kruger Mpumalanga

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