Access to electricity improves in 2009

Pretoria - The number of South Africans with access to electricity has risen to 83 percent, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said on Thursday.

In its 2009 General Household Survey, 83 percent of the country's citizens had electricity connection compared to only 77 percent in 2002.

The survey, which started in 2002, was instituted because of a need identified by government to determine the level of development in the country and the performance of programmes and projects on a regular basis.

Stats SA said though upward trend of electrification in most provinces had been smooth; this was not the case in the Western Cape and Limpopo where connectivity decreased. The study found that the use of wood and paraffin for cooking decreased consistently in most provinces between 2002 and 2009.

However, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape provinces had the highest rate of paraffin and wood usage at 54.4 and 40.8 percent respectively.

Regarding water access, the figure dwindled 2005's 76 to 58 percent in 2009 while the percentage of households which received piped water from their municipalities increased from 78.2 in 2004 to 83.3 percent in 2009.

The study also found that nationwide the percentage of households with no toilets or the bucket system decreased from 12.6 percent in 2002 to 6.6 percent in 2009.

Stats SA's Deputy Director General Kefiloe Masiteng said the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and the KwaZulu-Natal provinces had the highest percentage of people who were unhappy with their water quality.

Regarding housing, the number of those living in informal houses fell to 13 percent in 2009 in comparison to 16 percent in 2005 and 15 percent in 2007.

According to the survey, 37 percent of households lived in dwellings with six or more rooms while 13 percent of citizens lived in state subsidised housing.

The survey indicated that 16.1 percent of people residing in RDP or state subsidised houses reported unhappiness. They said the walls of the houses were weak or very weak while 14.9 percent of people said their roofs were weak or very weak. These problems were most prevalent in the Western and Eastern Cape provinces. - BuaNews