Media Release: General Household Survey (GHS) 2015

Media Release                                                                                                 2 June 2016

General Household Survey (GHS) 2015


More people continued to rely on state coffers as the percentage of individuals that benefited from social grants increased from 12,7% in 2003 to 30,1% in 2015. The percentage of households that received at least one grant increased from 29,9% to 45,5% in 2015, over the same period. This is according to the results of the latest General Household Survey (GHS) released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), today.

The survey further indicates that, nationally, 33,2% of individuals aged 5 years and older attended an educational institution.  Approximately 88% of South Africans above the age of five years who attended educational institutions were in either primary or high school, while 4,4% attended tertiary institutions. The percentage of learners who reported that they were exempted from paying tuition fees increased from 0,4% in 2002 to 64,6% in 2015. Provinces with the highest proportion of non-payers were Limpopo (92,5%) and Eastern Cape (79,1%). Learners were least likely to benefit from the ‘no fee’ system in Western Cape (43%) and Gauteng (41,6%).


The GHS also reveals that seven in every ten (70,5%) households went to public clinics and hospitals as their first point of access when household members fell ill or got injured. By comparison, a quarter (25,3%) of households indicated that they went to private doctors, private clinics or hospitals. Most households (92,8%) went to the nearest health facility. The study found that 81,1% of households that attended public healthcare facilities were either very satisfied or satisfied with the service they received compared to 97,7% of households that attended private healthcare facilities.

Although 89,4% of South African households had access to piped water in 2015, only 74,9% of Eastern Cape households enjoyed such access. This situation does, however, represent a substantial improvement from that of 2002 when only 56,3% of households in this province had access to piped water.

Nationally, 62% of households rated the quality of water-related services they received as ‘good’. Levels of satisfaction has, however, been decreasing steadily since 2005 when 76,4% of users rated the services as good. An estimated 45,8% of households had access to piped water in their dwellings in 2015. A further 27% accessed water on site while 13,9% relied on communal taps and 2,7% relied on neighbours’ taps.


Although households’ access to water is improving, 4,4% of households still had to fetch water from rivers, streams, stagnant water pools and dams, wells and springs in 2015. This is a decrease of more than five percentage points from 9,5% of households that had to access water from these sources in 2002.

Nationally, the percentage of households with access to ‘RDP-standard’ sanitation increased from 62,3% in 2002 to 80% in 2015. The majority of households in Western Cape (93,3%) and Gauteng (91%) had access to adequate sanitation, while about half those in Limpopo (54%) and just below two-thirds of those in Mpumalanga (65,8%) had adequate access. The percentage of households that continued to live without proper sanitation facilities declined between 2002 and 2015, decreasing from 12,3% to 4,7% during this period.

The percentage of households for which refuse was removed at least once per week increased from 56,7% in 2002 to 63,5% in 2015.  The percentage of households that had to rely on their own or on communal rubbish dumps or who had no facilities at all decreased. Households in urban areas were much more likely to receive some rubbish removal service than those in rural areas, and rural households were therefore much more likely to rely on their own rubbish dumps.

The full report is available on the Statistics South Africa website:




Issued by Statistics South Africa


For technical enquiries:

Ms Kefiloe Masiteng

Deputy Director-General: Population & Social Statistics

Tel: (012) 310 4663



Dr Isabelle Schmidt

Executive Manager: Social Statistics

Tel: (012) 337 6379

Cell: 082 884 4281



Media enquiries:

Ms Lesedi Dibakwane

Tel: (012) 310 8578

Cell: 082 805 7088