Rain stopped play after just three overs of the fifth one-day international with South Africa 6-1 batting first in Cardiff on Wednesday.
Stuart Broad dismissed South Africa opener Herschelle Gibbs for three in the second over when wicketkeeper Matt Prior took a brilliant one handed catch.
Hashim Amla (three not out) and Jacques Kallis (0 not out) were at the crease when the heavens opened and the groundstaff struggled to get the covers on in time.
Earlier play had been delayed by two hours due to rain.
England lead the series 4-0 and need one more win to climb into second place in the world one-day rankings.