StatsSA has unveiled its latest annual household survey today, which is full of terrifying statistics like the fact that one in ten households still doesn’t have access to piped water, and a third of people living in Mpumalanga don’t have access to adequate sanitation at home.

The technological state of the nation isn’t quite as life threatening, but if you go along with Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s opinion that access to the internet should be a human right, it’s not much more cheery.

According to the survey, the majority of households in South Africa still don’t have any access to the internet at all. Only 48.7% of households “had at least one member who used the internet either at
home, workplace, place of study, or internet caf├ęs”.

Access varies wildly across the country, and is dominated by mobile use. In the Western Cape, for example, 23.8% of households have access through some sort of service directly to their home, and in 49.8% of households at least one person uses a mobile device to access the internet. Gauteng is slightly lower than that – although it has the largest number of people who use internet cafes – while Limpopo is pretty shocking. Just 2.3% of households have internet access at home, and well under a third have access via a mobile phone.

The full table is below.

South Africa Household Survey 2014.
South Africa Household Survey 2014.

The figures for total use in a household across all methods of access are below. Only 32.6% of households in Limpopo use the internet at all.

Image courtesy StatsSA
Image courtesy StatsSA

Unsurprisingly, cellphones dominate general telecoms. In total, 82.1% of households had access to a mobile phone, while 12.8% have a landline. A surprising 4.1% have no telecommunications at all.

[Image – CC Toujours Passages]
Adam is the Editorial Director at htxt media. He has been writing about technology for almost two full decades now. In a previous life, he was the editor of PC Format and Digital Camera Shopper in the UK, before going on to work as a freelance journalist for seven years. His work has appeared in or on Stuff, The Guardian, Linux Format, TechRadar,, PC Gamer, Green Futures, The Journalist, The Ecologist and The Review. Adam moved to South Africa in 2012 and loves 3D printers, MakerFairs and tech hubs. He hates seafood. None of his friends remember this when cooking.