The UK is set to leave the EU on October 31, and no trade deal currently exists between the two. While UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to not seek another extension, the UK Parliament has passed a law compelling him to seek a further delay if no departure deal has been concluded.
Minister of Trade and Industry, Ebrahim Patel, told reporters on Wednesday in Cape Town that South Africa and five other countries in the southern African region had clinched a deal that would give the African states a soft landing in case of a no-deal Brexit.
The other countries are Lesotho, eSwatini, Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique.
The new agreement will be known as the SACUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement, said Patel. He said it would effectively "roll over and replicate the terms of trade" that govern the current trade agreement between South African and the European Union in terms of tariffs, quotas, rules of origin, and health and safety regulations.
The UK is one of SA's largest trading partners, with bilateral trade of about R140 billionn in 2018.
UK International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss, said in a statement: "This trade agreement, once it is signed and takes effect, will allow businesses to keep trading after Brexit without any additional barriers".