Conor Murray was the hero as Munster fought back to edge out the Cheetahs 19-17 in their Guinness PRO14 clash in Bloemfontein.
Ireland scrum-half Murray, a first-half replacement, scored Munster's only try before landing a decisive 66th-minute penalty from inside his own half.
The Cheetahs dominated the first half and led 17-7 at the break.
Clayton Blommetjies rewarded their early pressure by ending a fine 10th-minute move and Johan Goosen converted.
Munster lost Simon Zebo to the sin-bin for 10 minutes, and Cheetahs doubled their lead when scrum-half Tian Meyer powered over and Goosen added the extras again.
But Murray's entrance as a replacement for the injured James Hart had an instant impact.
Murray broke free close to the line three minutes before half-time and JJ Hanrahan converted to reduce the deficit to 14-7.
Goosen extended the Cheetahs' lead right on half-time, but that was to be the South Africans' final points of the game as Munster took command.
Hanrahan got Munster to within one score by landing three penalties before Murray took over the kicking duties in spectacular style.