Bafana Bafana [The Boys] included only one overseas-based professional, captain and central defender Aaron Mokoena from Portsmouth, and Brazil-born coach Joel Santana made a host of late substitutions.
It was the same old story from South Africa, who face Iraq, New Zealand and Spain in Group A, with numerous good scoring chances squandered against outclassed Indian Ocean opponents.
But the home team did not secure the victory until midway through the second half when SuperSport United midfielder Lance Davids unleashed a drive past goalkeeper Ivan Jose.
South Africa will be in action again on 6 June when they host Poland at a revamped Orlando Stadium in Soweto when caps will be awarded. South Africa then face Iraq eight days later in the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009 opener.