The characteristics of Vibrio cholerae O1 biotype El Tor, serotype Ogawa isolates from outbreaks of cholera in 1998 amongst migrant workers in the South African provinces of Gauteng and Mpumalanga, on the border of Mozambique, are reported. The isolates seem to have originated from the same clone since they are of two closely related BglI ribotypes. These ribotypes had a high similarity to ribotypes of V. cholerae O1 recently found in three South-east Asian countries. Isolates were resistant to furazolidone, streptomycin, sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim and tetracycline. Only two isolates contained plasmids of 54 and 63 kb in size. PCR and DNA sequencing revealed that the chromosomally located resistance determinants present included an aadA2 gene cassette contained in a class 1 integron; the SXT element, which is a transposon-like element containing resistance genes; and the tetA gene. A co-transfer of chromosomal closely located genes encoding the SXT element and tetA was shown by mating experiments, PCR and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis analyses. Our study shows for the first time that multiple-resistant V. cholerae O1 isolates containing class 1 integrons and the SXT element were responsible for cholera outbreaks in Southern Africa. Studies are needed to determine the spread of this multiple-resistant O1 strain and further genetic details of the association of the SXT element, tetA and class 1 integrons, including their means of transfer.