South Africa has three capital cities: Cape Town the largest of the three, is the legislative capital; Pretoria is the administrative capital; and Bloemfontein is the judicial capital- Eleven official languages are recognized in the constitution. South Africa is by far the wealthiest country in Africa


  • Clarify exactly who are you doing business with both at an individual level and company level

  • Understand who the decision makers are - Decisions tend to be made at the very top of any business

  • Strive to be authoritative but not overly authoritarian, be in charge of the facts and speak with conviction

  • You will be expected to give & receive gifts with your business associates.

  • Do use titles and last names especially with elder people

  • Plan meetings two weeks in advance

  • Don’t be late for a meeting - In fact, try to arrive to an appointment five minutes early.

  • South Africans are punctual and being late is considered rude.If the company you are dealing with requires constant electricity check the supply performance - as in may areas there is a power scarcity

  • Understand the supply chain cost build up – there are various incentives which could be to your benefit

  • Do not rush negotiations – they will take at least three times longer than in the west

  • Develop a local network to enable you to compare notes and check findings

  • Certain skills are in short supply – understand how the company you plan to work with, will retain and develop key people

  • Combating crime is one of the major challenges the South African economy faces – so be streetwise when you are out and about

  • South African wine is equal to the best in the world and if you have time follow one of the 15 official wine routes!


Good luck and great business!

Top tips on doing business in South Africa