Pretoria: South Africans’ access to piped water, proper sanitation and electricity has improved over the past 15 years. This is according to the results of Census 2011, released by Statistics SA on Tuesday. Households that have flush toilets connected to the sewerage system increased “persistently” to 57% in 2011 from 50% recorded in Census 2001. The portion of households using the bucket toilet system decreased to 2.1% in 2011 from 3.9% in 2001.
Households with no toilets also declined significantly from 13.3% in 2001 to 5.2% in 2011. The results show a significant increase in the proportion of households which have access to piped water, with the percentage increasing from 60.7% according to Census 1996 to 62.3% in 2001 and 73.4% in 2011.
The proportion of households that have access to piped water was high in all provinces apart from the Eastern Cape and Limpopo which had the lowest proportions. The highest was in Gauteng, where 89.4% of households have piped water inside the dwelling or yard.
Gauteng is followed closely by Free State at 89.1% and the Western Cape at 88.4%. “The households that reported to have no access to piped water are highest in Eastern Cape (22.2%), followed by 14.1% in KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo with 14%,” Census 2011 found.
With regards to electricity, households that used electricity for lighting increased from 70.2% in 2001 to 84.7% in 2011, while households that used electricity for cooking increased from 52.2% to 73.9% over the same period. Households that used electricity for heating had increased from 49.9% in 2001 to 58.8% in 2011.
When it came to the distribution of households, the results showed that Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal have the highest number of households, approximately 3.9 million and 2.5 million respectively, while the Northern Cape had 301 405 and the Free State with 823 316 had the lowest number of households. There has been a steady increase in the percentage of households living in formal dwellings over time. Figures in this category increased from 65.1% in 1996 and 68.5% in 2001 to 77.6% in 2011.
The percentage of households living in traditional dwellings almost halved from the 14.8% in 2001 to the 7.9% in 2011, while the percentage of households living in informal dwellings decreased from 16.4% in 2001 to 13.6% in 2011.
“It is evident that in general there is an improvement in the access to basic services over time. Such improvements provide direct benefits to households in terms of better living conditions, environmental and health standards,” Census 2011 noted.