Vernon Philander has been declared "provisionally fit" for the opening Test against New Zealand in Cape Town, starting on Wednesday.
The seamer has come through a fitness test on a hamstring strain and is expected to spearhead the home attack at Newlands.
"He's come through his fitness test well," said Proteas captain Graeme Smith. "Unless he stiffens up later today or tonight he's fit to play."
Philander will share the new ball with Dale Steyn with Morne Morkel coming on at first change as South Africa look to consolidate their place at the top of the ICC Test rankings.
New Zealand will be reliant on skipper Brendon McCullum, Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson for runs in the absence of Ross Taylor.
Handed the captaincy in controversial circumstances, McCullum confirmed that he will also open the batting in the absence of the injured Peter Fulton, with Dean Brownlie coming in at No.4.
"Peter was going to open but he has been struck down by an injury. That gives an opportunity to Dean Brownlie," McCullum said.
"I'll come back to the top of the order and Dean will come in at number four. I've been opening the batting for the last little while and you've got to bat at some point."
Left-arm seamer Trent Boult and veteran Chris Martin will lead the bowling attack with Tim Southee and Daniel Vettori both sidelined by injury.
South Africa (from): Graeme Smith (capt), Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers (wkt), Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Jacques Rudolph, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Rory Kleinveldt.
New Zealand (from): Brendon McCullum (capt), Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Daniel Flynn, Dean Brownlie, BJ Watling (wkt), James Franklin, Colin Munro, Doug Bracewell, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult, Jeetan Patel, Bruce Martin, Chris Martin, Mitchell McClenaghan.