Springbok captain Victor Matfield paid tribute to his side's staunch defence as the world champions withstood a late rally from Wales to win 25-29 at the Millennium Stadium.
The victory kept South Africa's hopes of a Grand Slam alive after they brushed aside Ireland last weekend.
South Africa were 17-9 behind at the break but scored 17 unanswered points in the space of seven minutes to grab the initiative from Wales.
Wales refused to cave in and mounted a fierce late rally but couldn't breach the green wall.
"I'm very proud of the boys, they showed great character," said Matfield. "Wales put us under pressure and it was a great game for the spectators to watch.
"Well done to Wales, they really came out and played well. "(Defending) is something we really worked hard on (in training) and it came through and we were happy with that," he added.
Referring to a possible Grand Slam, Matfield said: "I don't know. There's still a fair way to go. We're focusing on Scotland and that's going to be another huge game. We will enjoy tonight and then start fresh from zero on Monday again."
The WRU has launched a campaign to create a long term legacy for Welsh club rugby by highlighting the advantages of volunteering. Rhian Edwards, a volunteer at Seven Sisters, has enjoyed many benefits of her volunteering at a grassroots rugby club including being part of the Rugby World Cup volunteer workforce after being nominated by the WRU - and the WRU is asking for more people to develop their 'Welsh rugby roots'.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland and captain Sam Warburton say their first prioirty on Sunday in the opening game of the World Cup is to win against Uruguay and not get overly concerned with points difference.
With only days to go until the biggest rugby competition in the world begins, rugby fans visiting Cardiff this autumn will be able to enjoy a special display at National Museum Cardiff as part of the celebrations surrounding the Rugby World Cup.
Geraint John has taken up the new role of WRU elite coach development manager having arrived in Wales last week. WRU TV caught up with him at the WRU rugby department's strategy day at the Millennium Stadium.
The entire Welsh Rugby Union Rugby Department gathered at the Millennium Stadium earlier this week where WRU Head of Rugby Josh Lewsey looked back on a year where structural and strategic changes have seen significant progress made
The Welsh Rugby Union has released a specially produced video to spearhead a new campaign to help promote the values of rugby union. The video, entitled Let us Play underpins the WRU rugby department's philosophy - to engage, transfer and retain players, coaches and referees.