Although the number and percentage of households in South Africa with access to piped water has increased steadily over the last decade, household satisfaction with the quality of water services has decreased. This is one of the findings from the latest release of Stats SA’s General Household Survey (GHS). Conducted on an annual basis since 2002, the GHS measures changes in the living conditions of South African households, determining household access to various services and amenities such as basic services, food, health-care and medical aid. The 2013 release shows that 12,8 million (86,4%) households had access to piped water in 2013 compared to 9,4 million (79,9%) in 2005. However, despite the increase in access, households seem less satisfied with the service, with only 63,2% of households in 2013 indicating that they experienced ‘good’ quality service, compared to 76,4% of households in 2005.
In terms of other services, the percentage of households connected to an electricity supply from the mains increased consistently from 77,1% in 2002 to 85,4% in 2013. Nationally, 13,6% of households indicated that they had experienced power interruptions in the six months before the survey. However, the survey also found that 68,2% of households perceived the electricity supply as ‘good’, constituting an increase of 6,6 percentage points since 2011.
The percentage of households with access to improved sanitation, that is flush toilets or pit toilets with ventilation pipes, has increased consistently from 62,3% in 2002 to 77,9% in 2013. The percentage of households without access to any sanitation facilities, or who were still using a bucket, similarly continued to decline, decreasing from 12,3% in 2002 to 5,1% in 2013.
In terms of refuse removal, while the percentage of households whose refuse is removed at least once per week has increased from 56,7% in 2002 to 63,5% in 2013, large differences exist between urban and rural areas. Whereas 84,3% of households in urban, and 89,2% of households in metro areas had their trash removed once per week, 86,5% of rural households still had to rely on their own refuse dumps compared to 9% of households in urban and 4,2% of households in metro areas.
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