The influential flanker has recovered from a knee injury and will lead out the side in the decisive match, in which a losing bonus point would be enough for the All Blacks to be crowned champions.
Johan van Graan, the South Africa forwards coach, admits McCaw's return will be a major boost for the visitors, but knows the world champions have plenty of other threats to be contained as the Springboks plot a way to achieve the bonus-point win they require.
"Richie is one of the all-time best players, we respect him for that but we're just going to focus on what we want to do," he said. "This is a Springboks versus All Blacks Test and they have 15 world-class players in their team. I think Sam Cane and Liam Messam played brilliantly in Auckland and even though McCaw is back and is captain again, it won't influence us."
South Africa have made two changes to the starting line-up that beat Australia 28-8 in Cape Town last weekend. Hooker Bismarck du Plessis replaces Adriaan Strauss, who scored the opener at Newlands, while Juandre Kruger comes in for Flip van der Merwe, who was this week banned for one game after his high shot on Joe Tomane. The uncapped Franco van der Merwe is named on the bench.
JJ Engelbrecht and has been named at outside centre along with Jan Serfontein despite being a doubt with a quad complaint.
"We will give JJ all the time he needs to recover, but if he can't make it, Jan will start," said Heyneke Meyer, the coach.
"Juandre will slot in without any difficulty as he's been part of the squad since day one and I'm very pleased for Franco, who has been training with us for more than a year already. His attitude since day one has been fantastic, he has waited patiently and always stayed positive, which is what we as a team stand for.
"On Saturday, he could make his debut against New Zealand in front of his home crowd at Ellis Park."
Tendai 'Beast' Mtawarira is set to play his 50th Test and become the fifth South Africa prop to do so.
"What a wonderful achievement for Beast," Meyer said. "He is someone who doesn't speak a lot, but you know he always gives everything he has for the Springbok jersey. It's always good to see hard work and dedication pay off like this."
South Africa v New Zealand, Johannesburg, Saturday
South Africa Z Kirchner; W le Roux, J J Engelbrecht or J Serfontein, J de Villiers (cap), B Habana; M Steyn, F du Preez; T Mtawarira, B du Plessis, J du Plessis, E Etzebeth, J Kruger, F Louw, W Alberts, D Vermeulen,
Substitutes A Strauss, G Steenkamp, C Oosthuizen, F van der Merwe, S Kolisi, R Pienaar, P Lambie, J Serfontein or J de Jongh
New Zealand I Dagg; B Smith, C Smith, M Nonu, J Savea; A Cruden, A Smith; T Woodcock, A Hore, C Faumuina , B Retallick, S Whitelock, LMessam, R McCaw (capt), K Read
Substitutes D Coles, W Crockett, B Franks, S Luatua, S Cane, T Kerr-Barlow, B Barrett, C Piutau