Non-financial census of municipalities, 2017

Media Release                                                                                                    04 June 2018


Non-financial census of municipalities, 2017                                                                

The number of consumer units receiving services from municipalities increased between 2016 and 2017. The highest percentage increase from 2016 to 2017 in the provision of services was recorded in the provision of sewerage and sanitation (3,8%), followed by solid waste management (2,6%), and water and electricity (both 2,1%). The number of institutions in the survey dropped from 278 in 2016 to 257 in 2017 as a result of the August 2016 municipal elections. This is according to the results of the latest Non-financial census of municipalities (NFCM) released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA).

Municipal services

The report further indicates that the provision of water increased by 2,1% between 2016 and 2017 nationally. The highest provincial increases were recorded in Limpopo (4,3%) and Gauteng (3,2%), while the lowest increase was recorded in Eastern Cape (0,6%). The highest provincial increases for the provision of electricity were recorded in Western Cape (3,7%) and Mpumalanga (3,0%), while Free State recorded the lowest increase (0,7%).

The highest provincial increase for the provision of sewerage and sanitation was recorded in Limpopo (15,5%). Mpumalanga recorded the second highest increase (3,9%), while the lowest increase was recorded in North West (1,0%).

For solid waste management (refuse removal), the highest provincial increase was recorded in KwaZulu-Natal (7,5%), followed by Limpopo and Mpumalanga (both 3,5%), while North West recorded the lowest increase at (0,1%).

Indigent households

There were 3,5 million indigent households in 2017, as identified by municipalities, of which 2,6 million (75,4%) benefited from the indigent support system for water, while 2,1 million (59,5%) benefited from free basic electricity provided by municipalities. The report also revealed that 2,2 million (62,6%) indigent households benefited from the indigent support system for sewerage and sanitation, while 2,5 million (71,9%) benefited from the indigent support system for solid waste management.

Increases were recorded in the free basic services provided: 61 386 more consumer units received free basic water in 2017 compared with 2016; 108 590 more received free basic electricity in 2017 compared with 2016; and 242 755 more received free basic sewerage and sanitation in 2017 compared with 2016. In the case of free basic solid waste management, there were 6 376 fewer consumer units that received the services in 2017 than in 2016. This is the result of changes in the targeting mechanisms used by some municipalities to provide such services.

Bucket toilets

The report shows that there was a decrease in the number of bucket toilets supplied by municipalities, nationally, from 68 480 in 2016 to 62 042 in 2017. Municipalities in the Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo provinces reported zero provision of bucket toilets. Those in the Western Cape and North West provinces reported increases of 11,4% and 4,0% respectively. Mpumalanga reported the same figure over the two-year period. The other three provinces showed decreases in the provision of bucket toilets, namely Eastern Cape (‑15,0%), Northern Cape (‑12,7%) and Free State (‑6,9%).


The number of employment positions in municipalities increased from 314 179 in 2016 to 317 756 in 2017. The highest percentage of vacant posts in 2017 was in the electricity departments (20,8%), followed by the road transport (19,9%) and waste water management departments (17,7%). The lowest vacancy percentages were in the waste management (10,8%) and health departments (10,4%).


The full statistical release is available on the Statistics South Africa website:

Issued by Statistics South Africa

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