Personally I've never had a problem understanding the few south africans I've met. The accent sounds, to me, a lot like the australian accent with a twist, which is kinda cool. I don't know where that falls within the wide range of accents that probably exist in south africa, but it's seemed consistent enough.
I can understand where people pick up a slight sense of the Australian accent with us, but I really think it's quite different
. I dunno, I've just noticed a lot of people saying they can't understand South African accents. I host medical students from all around the world and they sometimes battle a bit. To be honest, there have been times where I couldn't understand certain Americans because the pronunciation of whatever word they said is so far removed from the way I would say it, or just because it's not the word we'd use. Then again, we've also adopted the American way of saying certain things like "yoghurt" or "garage" because there was a time when the only television we got was American.
I mean, we've got this embarrassing phenomenon of referring to traffic lights as "robots" and people from other countries don't know what the hell we're talking about. Then when they find out, they're all "LOOOOL, you people are so technologically ignorant that you think a traffic light is as complex as a robot. Ha ha ha!"
So... yes. I don't know what kind of point I'm trying to make with this. Just some random knowledgey stuff, I guess