The South African Airways pet policy is as follows:
No pets are permitted in the cabin; pets may be checked in as baggage or as cargo.
For your pet to be accepted as checked in baggage on SAA it must be a domesticated animal, older than 8 weeks, and in a pet crate that meets all the requirements.
Domestic travel within South Africa: the specifications of cage shall not exceed 1m X 1m & maximum weight of 23kg. (Cages larger than the required specification shall be transported has cargo). Your pet’s original vaccination and rabies certificate must be present at the time of pet check-in. This relates to dogs, cats and birds. Snakes are not allowed.
International travel to & from South Africa: all animals (pets) and animal products are not allowed via the security check point & must be transported as manifested cargo under an Air Waybill, also in case of transit if transhipment is involved.
The following countries do not allow domestic pets to be loaded in the cabin or to be carried as excess baggage: Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Zambia, Mozambique, Brazil, Namibia, Australia and Angola.
Taking a pet to a foreign country involves preparation and planning far in advance of your departure date. Requirements for pet travel to a foreign country are set by the destination country. If you are you traveling to another country and bringing along your pet you’ll need to meet the animal health requirements of the country you are visiting.
More information on the South African Airways pet policy