South Africa Top VPN, Legality, Stats, and Recommendations

Michael Gargiulo - CEO, VPN.com

By: Michael Gargiulo, CEO at VPN.com

Updated: 8:05 PM ET Sun, August 9th 2020

Introduction

Located at the southernmost tip of Africa, South Africa is the continent’s second-largest economy. The ‘Rainbow Nation’ is a part of the emerging nations group BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). According to the World Bank, South Africa has the world’s highest level of income equality.

South Africa is working hard to correct the fractured society that was inherited from apartheid. Freedom of speech and privacy rights are integral parts of the country’s post-apartheid legislation. And although the branches of the government are split across three different cities, it has a more progressive stance on human rights than many other African countries.

28 million people (approximately 52 percent of the South African population) have access to the Internet. There are also close to 60 million mobile phones in use each day. South Africans spend an average of over 8 hours a day online, almost twice as much as Germans.

Although Internet access is widely available, connectivity is slow. Distribution and licensing laws also limit the available streaming content. Many people in South Africa use VPN services to access this geo-restricted content. But fraud and identity theft are also on the rise. As a result, people are using a VPN to protect their personal information and data.

In this article, we will take a closer look at why you should use a VPN in South Africa as well as a list of the best providers.

Is it Legal to Use a VPN in South Africa?

How to legally use VPNs in South Africa.

Yes, the use of a VPN is completely legal. However, if you choose to conduct illegal activity while a VPN is in use, you will still get into trouble.

Why Use a VPN in South Africa?

Why you should use a VPN in South Africa.

Digital Privacy Rights in South Africa

 

South Africa practices limited Internet censorship. Political sites and Pirate Bay are not blocked, but there is censorship of adult sites.

Privacy as a whole is taken very seriously. The right to privacy is protected under the country’s 1996 post-apartheid constitution. The law (under Section 14), however, does state that the right to privacy is not absolute and can be limited if the situation is justifiable. Data privacy is a relatively new frontier and often an afterthought in many African countries. Kenya, for example, has one of the fastest growth rates in terms of Internet use, but no laws in place to protect data.

As Internet use continues to rise, so does the government’s support of data protection. The legacy of apartheid and shift towards a modern democracy means the government does not collect user data. The government only collects information about its citizens for census purposes.

According to the South African Department of Statistics, Section 17 of the Statistics Act “guarantees the confidentiality of your information. The data we collect is used for statistical purposes only and no-one, not even the President of South Africa, can access data on an individual level.”

Though it appears that citizens can freely use the Internet, the government voted against a UN resolution regarding Internet freedoms. The resolution was for the promotion, protection, and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet. South Africa’s no vote means additional levels of censorship could become a reality in the future. A VPN can protect you in case these measures ever do go into effect.

 

Surveillance

 

Mass surveillance is illegal in South Africa, but targeted surveillance is a potential issue. The government does track some web activities and makes its own decisions about what action to take.

ISPs may hold user data, but you can circumvent this fairly easily. A VPN encrypts all online traffic going between your devices by routing it through an alternative server. By giving you a new IP address and masking your activity, it makes it impossible for ISPs to collect and share your information.

 

Public WiFi

 

South Africa has more than 330,000 open mobile hotspots. There is free access to WiFi in cafes, restaurants, and public railways. While providing citizens with easy connectivity solutions is noble, it also creates potential cybersecurity threats.

Hackers are notorious for stealing people’s information when they are logged onto WiFi. Many of these connections are unsecured, which means a hacker can access information that passes between your devices and the websites you visit. When a network is not encrypted, it makes it easier to steal sensitive information such as passwords and financial data.

 

Is There Reason Not To Use a VPN?

 

In South Africa, there is a low amount of risk when you use a VPN correctly. However cybercrime does carry a punishment of up to five years, so it’s up to you to determine which content you will access. A quality VPN can allow you to view geo-blocked streaming content. It can also protect you from identity theft, especially if you use free public WiFi.

Internet Speed and VPN Accessibility

Find the fastest and securest VPN for South Africa.

South Africa ranks 76th out of 100 countries for broadband speed internationally. The country, however, falls short of the global average when it comes to Internet connectivity.

60% of Internet traffic in Africa comes from South Africa. But Internet penetration is still below the global average. Broadband provision relies on wireless networks instead of cables.

According to the Worldwide Broadband Speed League, the country ranks 76 out of 200 countries for download speeds. The average Internet speed also varies greatly depending on the province. Countrywide income inequality also translates to the Internet. Free State has the fastest download speeds in the country. The slowest speeds are located in the Northern Cape and North West, next to the Northern border.

 

Mobile Speeds

 

Mobile phone penetration is approximately 65% of the population. The country has the fastest average mobile download speed in Africa. According to speedtest.net, South Africa ranks 55th in the world for mobile speeds with an average download speed of 33.07 megabits per second (Mbps). The average upload speed is 8.68 Mbps.

 

Broadband Speeds

 

South Africa ranks 90th in terms of broadband speeds. The average download speed is 28.57 Mbps. The average upload speed is 20.07 Mbps.

What to Look for in a South Africa VPN

Which VPN should you use to connect in South Africa.

Certain features can assist your online experience if you choose to use a VPN in South Africa. One of the most important features is fast and reliable connection speeds.

You should also make sure that the VPN can easily unlock geo-restricted content. Streaming companies are becoming smarter when it comes to blocking VPNs, so you need a provider that regularly updates its software. 

Lastly, you should make sure that the VPN provider offers a large number of servers around the world. When VPN servers become overcrowded there are noticeable changes in buffering speeds and latency. With multiple server options, you will be routed to locations that don’t have heavy amounts of user traffic.

Wrapping Up

South Africa is one of the most connected and least censored countries in Africa. But the rise of cyberattacks and selective censorship means that you should take measures to protect your information. The use of easily accessible public WiFi networks will also make you more vulnerable to hackers. To add extra security while accessing geo-restricted content, you should use a VPN when going online in South Africa.

Detailed Information About South African VPNs in 2021

South African Flag

Continent: Africa

Capital: Cape Town

Primary Official Language: English

Population:

Domain Extension: .za

Country Details

GDP:
$384,310,000,000

Local Google Domain: google.co.za

Government Type:
Republic

# of Mobile Phones:
59474500

# of Mobile Phones Rank
Unknown

Internet Penetration:
Unknown

Global % of Pop w/ Internet Rank :
52%

Internet Stats

# of Users:

Users Global Rank
28,291,419

Avg Speed:
3.7 Mb/s

Avg Peak Speed:
18.9 Mb/s

Above 4Mbps %:
22%

Above 10Mbps %:
3%

Above 15Mbps %:
2%

Censorship Details

Political Sites:
No

Social Media Sites:
No

Adult Sites:
Yes

Pirate Bay:
No

14 Eyes Status:
No

Enemy of the Internet?
Unknown

Data & Security

Data Privacy Status:
Moderate

Data Protection Agency:
The first members of the Information Regulator

Data Retention Required?
Unknown

Data Retention Period
Unknown

Data Protection Officers Required?
No

Breach Notifications Required?
Yes

Financial Stats

Credit Card Payment %:
43

Prepaid Card Payment %:
1

Mobile Payment %
44

Bank Transfer Payment %
1

E-Wallet Payment %
11

Travel Details

Address:
3051 Massachusetts Avenue, NW,, Washington DC 20008

Email:
ambassador.washington@foreign.gov.za

Phone
(202) 232-4400

# of Global Embassy Consulates:
Unknown

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