Childhood mortality is a key sign of the coverage of child survival interventions, social and economic progressions. Although the level of under-five mortality has been declining, it is still unacceptably high. The primary aim of this paper is to establish and analyse the levels and trends of under-five mortality for the periods 1998, 2003 and 2012 in South Africa. Methods: The data used for analysis came from the 1998 SADHS, the 2003 SADHS and the 2012 SABSSM which collected information on the survival status of children. The Kaplan-Meier estimate of the survival function method was used to determine the probabilities of failure (death) from birth up to 59 months. Results and Conclusion: The overall U5MR declined by 28.2% from 53.1 in 1998 to 38.1 in 2012. The U5MR of male children declined from 59.2 in 1998 to 46.2 in 2003 and dropped further to 41.4 in 2012. The U5MR of children of mothers aged 40 years and older increased from 64.0 in 1998 to 89.0 in 2003 and rose further to 129.9 in 2012. The U5MR of children of mothers with education level of 12 years or more increased from 32.2 in 1998 to 35.2 in 2003 and declined substantially to 17.5 in 2012.