Gibbs, who has been out for two months, passed a fitness test on Monday. He was promptly placed in the squad to play a Twenty20 match on Friday and the first three of five one-day games.
Justin Ontong is the only man dropped from the side that won their last series 5-0 in West Indies in May, while Albie Morkel is in the Twenty20 squad.
"Albie has shown us what he is capable of and he may be the ideal player suited to Pro20 cricket," said convenor of selectors Haroon Lorgat.
"We also need to be smart about our supersub options." Captain Graeme Smith, Mark Boucher, Jacques Kallis and Shaun Pollock, who all played in the ICC Super Series, are only expected to arrive back on Wednesday.
But they are all likely to be pressed into action at Johannesburg's Wanderers Stadium for the first ever Twenty20 international to take place in South Africa.
The one-day series, which begins in Bloemfontein on Sunday, with be South Africa's first under coach Mickey Arthur.But he was in charge of the Africa XI for the recent Afro-Asia Cup series, which featured many of the top South African players.
South Africa squad: Graeme Smith (capt), Jacques Kallis, Nicky Boje, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, Boeta Dippenaar, Herschelle Gibbs, Andrew Hall, Justin Kemp, Charl Langeveldt, Andre Nel, Makhaya Ntini, Shaun Pollock, Ashwell Prince, Albie Morkel (Twenty20 only).