For all of its problems, South Africa has a robust and productive corpus of university-based researchers. And since the end of apartheid, the country's universities have been enriched by significant population of students from other African countries. Hence, South Africa has the potential to become not just a foremost player on the international research stage, but also a catalyst for the development of science throughout the African continent.
But South Africa must overcome the enormous challenges of education reform a lack of good science teachers and inadequate funding (both public and private). See Nature Nature 463, 709 (11 February 2010)