South Africa Trade

South Africa in the 1970’s

Formerly the South African Union, on May 31, 1961 South Africa became a republic, leaving the Commonwealth.

At the 1970 census the population was 21,448,169 residents (17 residents per km 2), compared to 16,002,797 in 1960 and 12,671,452 in 1951. Between 1951 and 1970 the total population increased by about 72% and the Bantu population from about 11 million to over 15 millions. Next to whites 3,751,328 (including approximately 43,000 Italian), 1970 2018533 lived coloreds (by about 87% in the Cape Province), 620,436 Asians, mainly Indians (for 83% in Natal). The main Bantu groups were made up of Zulu (3,970,000 individuals), Xhosa (3,907,000), Tswana (1,702,000), North Sotho (1,596,000), South Sotho (1,416,000), Tsonga (731,000), Swazi (487,000), Ndebele (410,000) and Venda (360,000).

In relation to the policy of “separate development”, autonomous Bantu territories were gradually created, with their own self-government, the so-called Bamu homelands, or Bantustans progressively assigned to members of the various African ethnic and linguistic groups.

Always in this perspective, the Bantustans of Transkei were established as autonomous states in 1976 (41,600 km 2, 1,900,000 residents in 1977; capital Umtata), of Bophuthatswana in 1977 (40,330 km 2, 1,200,000 residents; capital Mmabatho) and of Venda in 1979 (6,044 km 2, 360,000 residents; capital Thohoyandou). The new states, however, have not obtained UN recognition and have been challenged by the Organization of African Unity (OAU).

Economic conditions. – Of the republic’s land area, only about 12% is arable land and woody agricultural crops, 67% is permanent meadows and pastures, 17.5% is uncultivated and unproductive. Since around 1960 less than 0.5% of the state was irrigated, a plan was formulated, based on the Orange Project (ORP), from the river of the same name, which has been in progress since 1966 and which will take at least thirty years to complete. Broadly speaking, the plan provides for the construction of twelve artificial reservoirs, of which three of particular capacity, about 850 km of tunnels, including the Orange-Fish Tunnel (82 km) and the Wapadsberg Tunnel (51 km), twenty hydroelectric plants and a large network of distribution channels. The largest of the artificial reservoirs, the Hendrek Verwoerd, already completed, has a capacity of; its dam is a few kilometers downstream from Bethulie. The second large basin is expected to rise 128 km further north-east, near Petrusville, and accumulate over 3 billion m 3. When the project is completed, 200,000 new hectares will be irrigated in the Great Karoo region. In 1971 a special commission was set up for research of other water, hydrological studies and pollution control.

White-run farms are now estimated to be around 93,000. From them, and from the indigenous ones, in 1977 the following quantities of cereals were obtained, in considerably increased quantities, especially for some, compared to twenty years earlier: maize (97.1 million q, out of 5,700,000 ha, by 30,000 producers); wheat (18.2 million q, out of 1,500,000 ha). At a distance, sorghum (3.8 million q); oats 720,000 q; barley, millet and rye. While maize generally allows for some exportation, this is rarely the case for wheat; it often has to be imported.

Among the products of woody agricultural crops, in 1977, strong increases can be observed, in general, compared to the recent past: thus wine (5.1 million hl, from 118,000 hectares of vineyard, cared for by 5000 farmers, compared to 2.8 million hl, from 74,000 ha, in 1957). Cultivated citrus fruits, especially in the Transvaal and around Port Elizabeth, have generally yielded satisfactory harvests: 6, 3 million q of oranges, 850,000 q of grapefruit and 200,000 q of lemons (3,200,000,140,000 and 70,000, respectively, in 1957). Among the products of industrial crops, sugar stands out (21.4 million q, from 240,000 hectares planted with cane); tobacco, in the Transvaal and in the Cape Province, (390,000 q, out of 42,000 ha); peanuts (21.4 million q on 175,000 ha), and, finally, cotton (770,000 q of seed, 390,000 q of fiber, from 90,000 ha).

In 1977 the farm numbered 12,800,000 cattle, 31,200,000 sheep and 5,250,000 goats. There were also 225,000 horses, 210,000 donkeys, and 14,000 mules. From this livestock patrimony in 1977 552,500 q of washed wool were obtained, and then meat (908,000 t in 1977) and dairy products.

Fishing in 1977, including landings at Walvis Bay, yielded 602,897 tonnes. Whaling in 1974-75 led to the capture of 1707 cetaceans (2026 in 1961), producing 62,000 q of whale oil.

In the mining sector, the South Africa has great resources, from more than fifty different minerals. First of all, gold stands out, even from recently exploited deposits, such as East Daggafontein, West Driefontein, Western Deep Levels, President Brand, etc. About three quarters of the gold in the Western world comes from the republic (711,500 kg in 1976). For diamonds, South Africa ranks third in the world; 7,022,000 carats, including industrial gems, in 1975, mined, as well as in Kimberley (Cape Province), in Transvaal and Orange. In 1976 uranium (3412 t of uranium oxide content, third place in the world) and silver (88,000 kg), as well as 25,000 kg of platinum (for which the republic has production second only to the USSR), were also obtained from the gold fields. from the mines of Rustenburg and Union. The production of coal was really huge 90.4 million tons in 1978; 41,280,000 in 1962) and that of iron (in 1978, 15 million t of iron contained), of manganese, of which there are reserves of at least 100 million t (over 2.4 million t of metal, in 1976), of chromite, of which South Africa has the largest reserves in the world (1,087,300 t of chromium oxide in 1976), of antimony, tin, copper. For South Africa business, please check

Between 1965 and 1976 the production of electricity, all of thermal origin, increased from 26 to 79.1 billion kWh and the installed power from 4,855,000 to 15.3 million kW; among the most recent plants, particularly important are those of Camden (1,600,000 kW), Komati (1,000,000 kW), etc. The Kriel power plant (3,000,000 kW) in southeastern Transvaal is under construction and the first nuclear power plant N of Cape Town went into operation in 1978.

The steel industry in 1978 produced 7.1 million tons of pig iron and 7.9 million tons of steel; the metallurgical one produced among other things 95,600 tons of refined copper. Among the mechanical industries, the automotive one, especially the assembly one, in 1976 built about 252,300 vehicles, including cars and trucks (173,000, in 1965). The chemical sector produces ammonia, synthetic resins and petrol, synthetic rubber (34,600 t in 1976), nitrogen fertilizers (332,000 t in 1976), urea, superphosphates, sulfuric acid. In 1976, the textile industry produced 72,400 t of cotton yarn and 15,500 t of wool yarn (45,200 and 10,800, respectively, in 1965).

Cement production between 1963 and 1977 went from 2,880,000 to 6.8 million tons of cement; the paper industry, from 281,000 tonnes in 1964 to 904,000 in 1978. Two large oil refineries have recently been completed in Durban and Cape Town.

Trade and communication routes. – In the four years 1973-77 the foreign trade rose by more than 2.1 to more than 5.1 billion rand (the rand – 1002 Italian lire in 1979), for imports, and more than 1, 5 to over 5.3 billion rand for exports, the latter consisting mainly (1975) of diamonds, copper, textile fibers, machinery, iron and steel, chemicals, etc. Among the main customers, in 1975, Great Britain, Japan, the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany; the main suppliers include Great Britain, the United States, the Federal Republic of Germany, Japan and Italy.

The railway lines in the period 1961-76 increased from 21,500 km, of which 2735 are electrified, to 22,432 km, of which 4967 are electrically powered. During the decade 1961-71, the rolling stock increased from 152,855 km (11,263 asphalted) to 320,000 (30,700 asphalted): 11,200 km of this network are state and national roads. Of the 410 existing airfields in the republic, 5 are the main ones: Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, East London and Cape Town. The main ports are Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and East London.

Economic Policy. – During the 1960s, the South Africa saw its income increase at an average annual rate of 6% in real terms in the presence of a very limited rise in prices (2.5-3% on average per year) and a rate of unemployment, excluding black workers, by 1%. But in the early 1970s the rate of inflation accelerated; in 1973 consumer prices had increased by 23 per cent, compared with 1970.

The problem of inflation has always been very much alive in this country as the price of gold, which is of fundamental importance for exports (33% of the total value of exports in 1961, 30% in 1970), was in those years fixed on the official market; an increase in labor and infrastructure costs reduced profit margins in this vital sector of the South African economy. However, from the point of view of the balance of payments, attempts were made to partially solve the problem by exploiting other underground products such as platinum, diamonds, coal, copper and iron. The contribution of the mining sector to the gross domestic product increased by 56 per cent. In the period 1963-69.

From the employment point of view, the development of the non-agricultural sector was very important, especially the construction sector in which employment doubled in the period 1963-69. In 1969, 62% of gross domestic expenditure was accounted for by private consumption, while public sector current and capital expenditure accounted for 23%. On the same date, exports and imports each accounted for 22% of aggregate domestic expenditure.

In the first half of the 1960s, the current account surplus in the balance of payments represented about 2% of gross domestic production, while in the second half of those years a deficit appeared that represented on average 1.5% of gross national product.. While there was a net outflow of capital in the first half of the 1960s, in the second half there was a substantial net inflow so that on average in the 1960s the balance of payments recorded a slight overall surplus.

At the beginning of 1970 the South Africa found itself in a rather precarious situation with increasingly strong inflationary tensions and with increasing external current account imbalances. This advised the national authorities to pursue a restrictive policy by increasing control over imports, devaluing the rand and temporarily freezing the prices of some goods.

In 1972 the rate of increase in income was only 3 per cent; however, in 1973, mainly due to the considerable increase in exports, income increased by 4.5 per cent. Despite the oil crisis and an inflation rate of 14%, in the following year the gross national product increased by 7% while the fall in the price of gold and the large government imports of oil and weapons brought the foreign deficit to 4%. % of the gross national product, which caused a devaluation of the rand of about 18%.

In 1976-77, an ever-high rate of inflation advised national authorities to introduce a deflationary plan and to impose stricter controls on the foreign exchange market and on imports which led, together with an increase in the flow of exports, to a large surplus. of current account.

South Africa Trade

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