File photo of Ghana s national team (Photo: CAF s official Twitter account)
South Africa needed a draw to advance but they were undone by a 33rd-minute penalty from Qatar-based winger Andre Ayew.
The visitors will feel hard done by after the penalty was awarded for a minimal challenge made by South Africa defender Rushine De Reuck.
Ahly winger Percy Tau wasted a late chance to equalise as Ghana secured a precious victory that lifted them to the March playoff in dramatic fashion.
The Black Stars are level on 13 points with South Africa and with equal goal difference. However, they scored seven goals, just one ahead of South Africa.
Ghana became the sixth team to reach the playoff following Egypt, Morocco, Senegal, Mali and DR Congo.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)