Graeme Smith's final Test innings ended in failure as South Africa headed for a series defeat against Australia in Cape Town.
Smith made just three runs before falling to Mitchell Johnson for the fourth time in the three-Test series.
His side were chasing 511, after David Warner followed his first-innings 135 with 145 in the second as Australia piled up 303 for five in 58 overs before declaring.
The Proteas ended the day 70 for four, which actually represented a good recovery after a terrible start.
Smith got off the mark with three from his second ball but saw opening partner Alviro Petersen fall lbw to Ryan Harris for nine.
That meant South Africa's opening partnerships in the series were 11, six, 10, 20, seven and 12 - and worse was to follow as Smith edged Johnson off his hip to Alex Doolan at short leg.
He was warmly saluted by the crowd and kissed the badge on his helmet before raising his bat in acknowledgement, but it was a sad farewell.
Johnson then splattered Dean Elgar's stumps before he had scored to leave the hosts 15 for three at tea.
After the interval, defence was very much the order of the day for Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers, with 21 runs coming from the first 10 overs.
Michael Clarke introduced Steve Smith's bits-and-pieces leg-spin, but neither a second-ball beauty past De Villiers' edge nor a succession of unsettling full tosses could produce a breakthrough.
The 50 partnership came up in 163 balls, De Villiers contributing an uncharacteristic 14 from 74, but Amla was dismissed lbw by James Pattinson for 41 after an unsuccessful review.
Nightwatchman Kyle Abbott saw the day out alongside De Villiers, who had faced 100 balls and hit just one boundary in his 16 not out.
Earlier, Chris Rogers hit the first three boundaries of the day but Warner, who resumed on 25 from 17 balls, was the focus of attention.
A six off JP Duminy took him to 49 and he reached 50 from the next ball he faced, just his 41st having also hit six fours.
Rogers was run out for 39 by Dale Steyn, on the field despite a hamstring injury. Wicketkeeper De Villiers showed good judgement in leaving the throw from long leg to hit but Rogers was guilty of not running his bat in.
Warner was on 75 from 57 balls at that stage but Doolan's appearance at number three saw the rate slow.
The new man took 35 balls to reach double figures but by lunch had advanced to 32, with Warner eight short of his hundred.
Their partnership ended at 65 when Doolan miscued a hook at Morne Morkel and was caught by Abbott for 37.
Warner, on 99, survived a run-out chance and was beaten all ends up by Morkel next ball but punched two behind point to reach three figures, from 124 balls with 11 fours and two sixes.
It was his eighth Test century and his fourth against South Africa, and a boundary shortly afterwards took his series average temporarily beyond 100.
A 23-run Duminy over contained two Shane Watson sixes, as well as three byes when Warner missed with a wild reverse slog which almost took out De Villiers.
Abbott returned with a full toss which got the full treatment as the fifty partnership came up in 31 balls, quickly followed by the 450 lead, but a breathtaking Duminy catch later in the over dismissed Watson for 25.
Clarke headed to the middle, rather than declaring - but lasted only one Abbott delivery, which he slogged straight to substitute Quinton de Kock.
Warner finally edged Abbott to De Villiers to finish the series with 536 runs at 90.50. Clarke and Matthew Hayden are the only Australians to score more runs in a three-Test series.
Clarke called his men in with Steve Smith 36 not out from 20 balls - having started with three successive fours - and Brad Haddin on three.