According to Act Number 36 of 1994, which is the Public Holidays Act of South Africa, our country has 12 public holidays. This Act also determines whether a Monday will become a holiday if the actual public holiday falls on a Sunday.
Through the years many business owners, economists and educational bodies have voiced their concerns that the large amount of public holidays had negative impacts on businesses, schooling and the economy as a whole. The month of April is generally the least productive of the entire year.
Most families pack their cars and head to the coast during Easter Holidays. December months are also known to be less for work and more about annual leave. These holidays don’t necessarily have negative impacts on retail businesses. People still spend money, they simply do it elsewhere. Companies who employee people have also set holiday rotations thus they too manage the impact of public holidays and holidays in general.
How does South Africa compare with the number of public holidays in other countries? Well, we seem to be an average country!
The United Kingdom and Spain have a mere 8 holidays. Countries such as Austria, Belgium, Norway, Finland and Russia have up to 13, which adds South Africa to this circle. Australia and New Zealand have 10 official days off. The United Arab Emirates is known to have 15 days off with Philippines at 18 and China at 17. Whilst Mexico is known to have the very least, at only 7 official days off, India smashes all records with a whopping 21 public holidays in a calendar year. It doesn’t end there! Some Indian states have even higher numbers.
South Africans generally make the most of the bonus days off. Some catch up on housework and gardening, others jump in their cars early morning and drive as far as possible and as soon as a bonus day off falls on a Friday it is the best excuse to make a long weekend out of it.
Let’s all enjoy the perfect dozen of public holidays in South Africa!