South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira was denied a victory on his return to the side as the World Cup hosts were held to a 0-0 draw by Japan.
After a 10-month absence, Blackburn striker Benni McCarthy was recalled but lacked inspiration as Japan enjoyed the better of a drab game.
The contest was the first match to be held at the new Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, built for next year's finals.
Croatia tried to erase the disappointment of their failed World Cup campaign with a thumping 5-0 victory over Liechtenstein.
All five of the hosts' goals were scored before the 50-minute mark as Mate Bilic and Eduardo both grabbed braces while Darijo Srna also got on the scoresheet.
Poland slipped to a 1-0 defeat at home to Romania with Auxerre striker Daniel Niculae scoring the only goal in the 57th minute.
Macedonia secured a convincing 3-0 win over Canada as Goce Sedloski struck first before star striker Goran Pandev scored twice from the spot.
Maxim Bordachev fired Belarus into an early lead against Saudi Arabia, but after goalkeeper Yuri Zhevnov was shown the red card, Nasser Al-Shamrani struck back to make it 1-1.
Estonia and Albania were also unable to break the deadlock as their friendly in Tallinn ended in a goalless draw, with the hosts' centre-back Raio Piiroja being sent-off late on.