Selector John Inverarity said both Matthew Wade and Brad Haddin presented compelling cases for inclusion but he opted to usher in a new era by naming the Victorian.
"As is widely known Brad returned to Australia early in the tour due to family circumstances and as a consequence Matthew was our Test 'keeper for the three Test matches," he said.
"He kept and batted very well and made a match-defining brilliant century in the second innings of the third and final Test against West Indies.
"Since then he has played and gained valuable experience in England, the UAE and Sri Lanka. As a young player, getting better by the month, he is thoroughly deserving of his retention."
But Inverarity held out an olive branch to Haddin, whose last Test appearance was in Adelaide against India in January.
"While Matthew has been retained as the Test 'keeper, Brad remains a player of significant interest," he insisted.
South Africa jetted into Australia Sunday aiming to consolidate their position as the number one Test team, which they earned in August with a series triumph in England.
The three-Test series starts at The Gabba on November 9.