The gross domestic product (GDP) announcement comes after a second-quarter contraction of 1.3%.
The mining (-9.8), electricity (-8%) and agriculture (-12.6%) sectors contracted in the third quarter, which has been expected due to lower commodity demand (mining and electricity) and the drought that has affected the country (agriculture).
The manufacturing (6.2%), finance (2.8%) and trade (2.5%) sectors grew in the third quarter.
GDP growth year-on-year was at 1% and 1.5% for the first nine months.
Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene revised South Africa's expected economic growth rate for this year downward to 1.5% from the 2.0% mentioned in the main budget in February when he presented his mini budget to parliament in October.
In the third quarter, the primary sector (agriculture and mining) pulled down growth forecasts with a 10.4% contraction, while the secondary sector (electricity and construction) grew by 6.2% and the tertiary sector (transport, finance and trade) grew by 1.9%.
Stats SA said higher production in petroleum, chemical products, rubber and plastic products; wood and wood products, paper, publishing and printing; and food and beverages boosted growth in the manufacturing industry. Lower production in the mining of coal, platinum and quarrying of diamonds affected the mining sector, it said.