Australia lost their fourth straight Test match - and their third successive Tri-Nations clash - going down by three points to South Africa at Perth's Subiaco Oval.
Flying Springbok winger Bryan Habana scored two tries, one in each half, to prove the difference between the two teams.
South Africa-born Clyde Rathbone scored the Wallabies' only try 11 minutes into the second half which Mat Rogers converted.
Rogers also landed three penalties with Matt Giteau kicking a 14th-minute penalty but their efforts were not enough to stop the Springboks, whose last Test win over Australia in Perth was a 14-13 victory in 1998.
In 60 Tests between the two countries, South Africa have now won 38 times, with one draw - the 14-14 tie in Perth in 2001.
South Africa full-back Percy Montgomery was the match's leading points scorer with three first-half penalties and a 50th-minute drop goal. The Springboks led 14-6 at half-time.