The Proteas will not play a Boxing Day Test in December, for the first time in 21 years, Cricket SA (CSA) announced on Tuesday.
The traditional Test, starting on December 26, had been replaced by a T20 International, CSA acting chief executive Jacques Faul said in a statement.
“The New Zealand tour (will start) with three T20 International matches to be played over the Christmas period instead of the normal Test match,” Faul said.
“The Test series will now start with the New Year's game at Sahara Park Newlands.”
South Africa have played Boxing Day Tests, either at home or away, every year since readmission to international sport in 1992.
They will face New Zealand in three T20 matches Ä the third of which will be played in Port Elizabeth on December 26 – followed by two Tests and three one-day internationals (ODI).
The Proteas will then host Pakistan in three Tests, two T20games and five ODI's between January and March 2013. – Sapa