Land and currency units in South Africa

F. Jacot Guillarmod ccfj at
Tue Feb 8 16:17:52 EST 1994

In <1994Feb7.100515.2409 at> samodena at (S. A. Modena) writes:

>I need to customize some software to Southern Africa...South Africa
>and, I'm guessing, the associated independant states and nearby

Note that countries such as Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland have their
own units of currency.  Places such as Transkei, Ciskei etc have always
been part of South Africa, and, in any case will shortly cease to exist
as so called "independent" states.

>I'm guessing that agricultural transaction are in Rand...what are the
>recognized ways of abbreviating that?  (R 100, Rd. 100, ??)

One hundred rand is written as R100-00 or R100,00 but nobody will
misunderstand R100.00.  In an international context, it'll be written
SAR100-00, in the same way you'd make US$100-00 unambiguous.  Prices
are quoted, usually, in rand per kilogram or rand per litre.

>Do farmer use strictly metric units for land area and yield values?
>Or are there common local sub-hectare units in wide use?

SA is legally completely metric, and has been for about 25 years.  Land
areas are measured legally in hectares, but farmers in this part of the
country invariably talk about their farm or lands being so many morgen
in size.  It's always struck me that they don't know what a morgen is
any more than I do, but perhaps they've got a mental picture of it
being so many multiples of a rugby or cricket field.  Or, more likely,
it's a number that appears on the old title deeds.

I'm not sure how yield values are referred to, but metric tons (or
tonnes?) are bandied about quite freely in various contexts.  Farmers
will probably talk about "bunches per morgen" to confuse everyone.
  F.F. Jacot Guillarmod     PO  Box 94     \        |     ccfj at
  Computing Centre       Grahamstown 6140   \      /      Fax: +27 461 25049
  Rhodes University        South Africa      ;___*/     Phone: +27 461 318284
   The views expressed above are not necessarily those of Rhodes University

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