Country Profile: South Africa


The Republic of South Africa is the southernmost country in Africa, bordered by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Eswatini; it also surrounds the enclaved country of Lesotho. South Africa is a parliamentary republic that gained its independence in 1931.

Capital: Pretoria

The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (NECSA) operates one nuclear research reactor in Pretoria (SAFARI-1), which is a tank-in-pool, light water reactor producing 20000 kW thermal. SAFARI-1 is used primarily for isotope production, neutron beam research, radiography and diffraction.

South Africa also operates two nuclear power plants (KOEBERG-1 and KOEBERG-2), which have been connected to the grid since 1984. Both reactors are pressurized water reactors with 2775 MW thermal capacity, operated by the South African Electricity Supply Commission (ESKOM).

South Africa developed a nuclear weapons program in the 1970s and 1980s including six gun-type nuclear devices. The program was halted during production of a seventh device, and completely dismantled in 1991. South Africa subsequently acceded to the NPT and provided the IAEA with full access to verify complete dismantlement of the program. All of South Africa’s nuclear facilities and material have since been under safeguards verified by the IAEA.


  • Member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) since 1994
  • Member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) since 1957
  • Acceded to the 1925 Geneva Protocol in 1930
  • Signed Antarctic Treaty in 1959
    • Ratified in 1960
  • Signed Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention in 1997
    • Ratified in 1998
  • Signed Arms Trade Treaty in 2013
    • Ratified in 2014
  • Signed Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) in 1972
    • Ratified in 1975
  • Signed Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 1993
    • Ratified in 1995
  • Signed Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996
    • Ratified in 1999
  • Acceded to Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in 1995
  • Signed Convention on Cluster Munitions in 2008
    • Ratified in 2015
  • Signed the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials (CPPNM) in 1981
    • Ratified in 2007
  • Signed International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT) in 2005
    • Ratified in 2007
  • Signed Outer Space Treaty in 1967
    • Ratified in 1968
  • Acceded to Partial Test Ban Treaty in 1963
  • Signed Treaty of Pelindaba in 1996
    • Ratified in 1998
  • Signed Sea-bed Treaty in 1971
    • Ratified in 1973
  • Acceded to Treaty for the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in 1991
  • Signed Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) in 2017
    • Ratified in 2019


  • Member of the G-21
  • Member of the Africa Group
  • Member of the NPT New Agenda Coalition
  • Member of the African Union
  • Member of the G-77


  • Chair of the 1540 Committee from 2011-2012
  • Chairperson of the CTBTO Preparatory Committee in 2010
  • Chair of the African Union Commission from 2012 and 2017
  • President of the Conference on Disarmament in 2017
  • Non-Permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2007-2008, 2011-2012, and 2019-2020
  • Member of the 1540 Committee in 2019
  • Member of the OPCW Executive Council in 2020


Permanent Mission of South Africa to the United Nations

South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (NECSA)

South Africa National Nuclear Regulator

South Africa Department of International Relations and International Cooperation

UN State Summary

Ratification of Treaties & Membership in International Organizations Related to Disarmament