Free basic services reaching more South Africans

Monday, June 4, 2018

Statistics South Africa says more consumers received free basic services such as electricity, water and sanitation in 2017 - as compared with 2016.

Joe de Beer, the Deputy Director-General responsible for Economic Statistics, on Monday released the Non-financial Census of Municipalities (NFCM) 2017. 

Addressing a media briefing in Cape Town, De Beer said the findings of the census were based on data gathered from 257 municipalities in 2017, compared to 278 municipalities in 2016. 

“It is important to remember that this is supply side information. In general, when compared to 2016, more consumer units received services. A few households are classified as indigents. The bucket toilets decreased from just over 68 000 to just over 62 000,” he said. 

De Beer said the highest percentage increase was in the number of consumer units that received sewerage and sanitation, which went up by 3.8% - from 11.1 million in 2016 to 11.5 million in 2017. Out of these, 3.6 million consumer units received free basic sewerage services and sanitation, while 2.2 million were indigent households. 

Solid waste management went up by 2.6% - from 9.5 million consumer units receiving this service in 2016, to 9.8 million consumer units in 2017. 

About 2.8 million households were given free basic solid waste management services, while 2.5 million households benefitted from indigent support on solid waste management. 

Bucket toilets decreased from 68 480 in 2016 to 62 042 in 2017. 

The increase for the number of consumer units that received water and electricity were the same, with both going up by 2.1%. 

About 11.6 million consumer units received electricity in 2017, compared to 11.3 million in 2016. Some 2.6 million consumer units received free basic electricity, while 2.1 million were indigent households that benefitted from the indigent support on electricity. 

There was also an increase in the number of households that received electricity from alternative sources. 

Those that received power from a solar home system went up from 98 160 in 2016 to 113 197 in 2017, while those that powered their homes with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) went up from 55 to 104. 

The census found that just over 13 000 households used candles in 2017, while just over 86 000 used paraffin. 

De Beer said 12.9 million consumer units received water last year compared to the 12.7 million units that were provided with water in 2016. Out of these, 4.7 million consumer units received free basic water services. 

He also said that out of the 13 million consumer units that received water in 2017, nine million of those had access to water inside their yard while 2.7 million had water within 200 meters from their yard. The remaining 800 000 had access to water more than 200 meters away. –