Public Holidays
in South Africa

There are 12 officially recognised Public Holidays in South Africa as laid out in the Public Holidays Act (Act No 36 of 1994).

Public Holidays in South Africa in 2016

1st January     Friday     New Year's Day
21st March     Monday        Human Rights Day
25th March     Friday     Good Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday)  
28th March     Monday     Family Day (Monday after Easter Sunday)
27th April     Wednesday     Freedom Day
1st May     Sunday     Workers' Day
2nd May     Monday     Public Holiday
16th June     Thursday     Youth Day
9th August     Tuesday     National Women's Day
24th September          Saturday        Heritage Day
16th December     Friday     Day of Reconciliation
25th December     Sunday     Christmas Day
26th December     Monday     Day of Goodwill

When a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday following becomes a public holiday.


Human Rights Day (21st March)
A public holiday to commemorate the massacre at Sharpeville on 21st March 1960.
The Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) had organized a protest against two laws which dictated where blacks were allowed to live and restricted their movement by making them carry an identity document, commonly known as a dompas (dumb pass).
Feeling threatened, the police at the Sharpeville police station opened fire, apparently unprovoked, resulting in 69 deaths and 180 injuries.


Freedom Day (27th April)
Freedom Day commemorates the first democratic elections held in South Africa on 27th April 1994.


Workers' Day (1st May)
Workers' Day, which takes its origins from May Day, celebrates the role played by trade unions, the Communist Party and other labour movements in the struggle against apartheid.


Youth Day (16th June)
Youth Day commemorates the march in Soweto on 16th June 1976, when more than 20,000 school children protested against Afrikaans being used as a teaching medium.
The inferior Bantu Education system as a whole was the true underlying cause.
Police intervened, and the ensuing violence left roughly 700 dead and massive damage to property.


National Women's Day (9th August)
This day commemorates the national protest march, held on 9th August 1956, by women to petition against legislation that required blacks to carry the dompas.


Heritage Day (24th September)
This is a public holiday to commemorate everything that is typically South African - as varied as the land in which we live to our historical inheritance and our language and creative expression to the type of food we eat.
The intention is to promote the belief that these facets are a national asset and not a drawback and reason for conflict.


Day of Reconciliation (16th December)
Prior to 1994, the 16th December was known as the "Day of the Vow" in commemoration of the victory of the Voortrekkers over the Zulu army at the "Battle of Blood River" on the 16th December 1838.
With the advent of democracy in South Africa, 16th December was retained as a public holiday, but is now used to foster reconciliation and national unity.




Public Holidays in South Africa in 2015

1st January     Thursday     New Year's Day
21st March     Saturday        Human Rights Day
3rd April     Friday     Good Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday)  
6th April     Monday     Family Day (Monday after Easter Sunday)
27th April     Monday     Freedom Day
1st May     Friday     Workers' Day
16th June     Tuesday     Youth Day
9th August     Sunday     National Women's Day
10th August     Monday     Public Holiday
24th September          Thursday     Heritage Day
16th December     Wednesday        Day of Reconciliation
25th December     Friday     Christmas Day
26th December     Saturday     Day of Goodwill

When a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday following becomes a public holiday.





Public Holidays in South Africa in 2014

1st January     Wednesday     New Year's Day
21st March     Friday        Human Rights Day
18th April     Friday     Good Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday)  
21st April     Monday     Family Day (Monday after Easter Sunday)
27th April     Sunday     Freedom Day
28th April     Monday     Public Holiday
1st May     Thursday     Workers' Day
16th June     Mondday     Youth Day
9th August     Saturday     National Women's Day
24th September          Wednesday        Heritage Day
16th December     Tuesday     Day of Reconciliation
25th December     Thursday     Christmas Day
26th December     Friday     Day of Goodwill

When a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday following becomes a public holiday.





Public Holidays in South Africa in 2013

1st January     Tuesday     New Year's Day
21st March     Thursday     Human Rights Day
29th March     Friday     Good Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday)  
1st April     Monday     Family Day (Monday after Easter Sunday)
27th April     Saturday     Freedom Day
1st May     Wednesday        Workers' Day
16th June     Sunday     Youth Day
17th June     Monday     Public Holiday
9th August     Friday     National Women's Day
24th September          Tuesday     Heritage Day
16th December     Monday     Day of Reconciliation
25th December     Wednesday     Christmas Day
26th December     Thursday     Day of Goodwill

When a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday following becomes a public holiday.





Public Holidays in South Africa in 2012

1st January     Sunday     New Year's Day
2nd January     Monday     Public Holiday
21st March     Wednesday        Human Rights Day
6th April     Friday     Good Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday)  
9th April     Monday     Family Day (Monday after Easter Sunday)
27th April     Friday     Freedom Day
1st May     Tuesday     Workers' Day
16th June     Saturday     Youth Day
9th August     Thursday     National Women's Day
24th September          Monday     Heritage Day
16th December     Sunday     Day of Reconciliation
17th December     Monday     Public holiday
25th December     Tuesday     Christmas Day
26th December     Wednesday     Day of Goodwill

When a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday following becomes a public holiday.





Public Holidays in South Africa in 2011

1st January     Saturday     New Year's Day
21st March     Monday     Human Rights Day
22nd April     Friday     Good Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday)    
25th April     Monday     Family Day (Monday after Easter Sunday)
27th April     Wednesday       Freedom Day
1st May     Sunday     Workers' Day
2nd May     Monday     Public Holiday
18th May     Wednesday     Public holiday (election day)
16th June     Thursday     Youth Day
9th August     Tuesday     National Women's Day
24th September     Saturday     Heritage Day
16th December     Friday     Day of Reconciliation
25th December     Sunday     Christmas Day
26th December     Monday     Day of Goodwill
27th December     Tuesday     Public Holiday

When a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday following becomes a public holiday.
Tuesday 27th December is an exception, and was proclaimed a public holiday by Government.




Page uploaded : 1st July 2011
Page updated : 15th September 2015







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