White South Africans and Whites in Portuguese-controlled Mozambique enjoyed very close relations during the colonial era. When South Africa implemented the apartheid laws, Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, became a destination for many Whites to go to escape the conservative social policies of the apartheid government. When Mozambique gained independence from Portugal in 1975, thousands of Mozambique-born Whites moved across the border to South Africa, the descendants of which are today Portuguese South Africans.
The Shangaan or Tsonga people live on both sides of the Mozambique-South Africa border. Black movement between the two states existed to a large extent due to the possibility of employment of Mozambicans in the mines of South Africa. The cross-border remissions form an important part of the Mozambican economy.
South Africa played an important role in the Mozambican Civil War in supporting RENAMO against the FRELIMO government. South Africa and Mozambique signed the Nkomati Accord in 1984, which officially ended South Africa's role in the war, though it continued until the advent of Democracy in South Africa in 1994.