The South African government is slowly working its way up to having 90% of households across the country having access to piped water and safe electricity, according to data from Statistics South Africa (StatsSA).

StatsSA last week released its report on service delivery from its 2016 Community Service, revealing how government is doing on delivering goals and promises relating to service delivery detailed in the National Development Plan (NDP).

The data revealed that 89.8% of households used piped water and 87.6% had access to electricity in 2016.


“The Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) for 2014-2019 reflects the commitment to implement the NDP. With regards to water, the MTSF calls for an increase in the percentage of households with access to a functional water service from 85% in 2013 to 90% by 2019,” StatsSA said.

In 1996, 76.6% of households had access to piped water, that number had risen to 91.3% but saw a 1.5% drop by 2016.

StatsSA attributed the decline not to lack of service delivery by government but to sample errors commonly associated with sample surveys.

The data also revealed that 4.3% of households stil get their water from streams, river and springs, while most households get their water from a tap inside their home (44.4%).

The Western Cape has the lowest backlog of households without access to piped water (1%), while the Eastern Cape has the highest backlog (24.9%).

In a question that was limited to households that received piped water from municipalities, 59.0% of households expressed their overall satisfaction with the overall quality of water services it received. The reported levels of satisfaction were highest in municipalities in the Western Cape, Gauteng, and some in Northern Cape.


Following the NDP’s proposal to increase the proportion of people to the electricity grid to 90% by 2030, and to provide non-grid options to the remaining households, the MTSF aims to connect 1.4 million additional households to the grid between 2014 and 2019, and 105 000 additional non-grid connections.

The Western Cape had the highest percentage of households with access to electricity (92.7%), while the Eastern Cape had the least (84.3).

Umhlabuyalingana Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal has the highest backlog of electricity supply of all municipalities in South Africa (81.5%), with 7 329 households having access, versus 32 285 which don’t.

Municipalities provided services to the majority of households in Free State (78.4%), Northern Cape (70.7%), Gauteng (60.5%) and Mpumalanga (58.7%), while Eskom was particularly active in rural provinces such as Limpopo (79.7%), North West (67.3%) and Eastern Cape (63.7%).

Approximately two-thirds (64.8%) of South African households were satisfied with the electricity they received. Households in Western Cape (72.7%) and Northern Cape (72.6%) were generally most satisfied with the electricity, while those in the more rural provinces of Eastern Cape (56.5%) and KwaZulu-Natal (60.4%) were least satisfied.

See the full report on Stats SA’s website.

[Image – PS Photography]