Vessels sailing under the South Africa Country Flag are required to have on board this flag as part of flag state requirements that derive from maritime regulations in the International Code of Signals and the International Safety Management (ISM) Code. These codes are published by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as an ongoing effort to reinforce maritime safety procedures and communications to the international maritime community. Fleet management companies and ship owners are responsible to ensure that each vessel in their respective fleets have the appropriate flag signage onboard to be in compliance. This flag is used to identify the flag state a vessel is sailing under and to communicate with other vessels under the provisions of the International Code of Signals.
The South Africa Country Flag appears as a complex design, beginning at the hoist, or left side where a black triangle is centered. It points toward the fly or right side where the base rises a distance equal to a third the height of the flag. A gold or yellow triangle forms a border around the black. Green stripes fill the triangular space to the bottom and top of the flag, converging into a green stripe centered vertically and terminating at the fly side. This green figure is bordered by white stripes on the top and again on the bottom where the green bar separates. Red background fills the remaining space on top toward the fly, and blue fills the space on the bottom. The design is intended to appear as a convergence that flows into a single band. The broad diversity of the South African population and historical divergence procludes each color from imparting any particular meaning. It is the melding and convergence of all the colors while remaining distinct that is intended to provide homogeneous representation.