Media Statements

CoGTA Welcomes Baseline Survey Report on Service Delivery

The Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Zweli Mkhize welcomes the report on the baseline survey conducted by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development through the programme called “Socio-Economic Justice for All” (SEJA) which is funded under Sector Budget Support by the European Union.

The SEJA programme is premised on a rights-based approach to the long-term eradication of poverty, in which people living in poverty are treated as free and autonomous agents who are empowered to assert their constitutional rights as active members of society.

The Minister appreciates the insight that the survey report has provided especially on issues that impact on Local Government such as the provision of basic services. The report highlighted issues of housing; electricity, water; sanitation, refuse disposal, amongst others.

  1. Summary of responses on provision of basic services are as follows:

1.1      Housing:

The survey indicates that approximately four out of every five (82%) respondents were living in formal housing, while one in ten (10%) were living in informal dwellings either in backyards or in informal settlements. The SEJA Baseline Survey found only 7% of respondents living in traditional dwellings.

The vast majority of whites (98%), Indians/Asians (96%) and coloureds (93%) were living in formal housing. In the case of black Africans, four fifths (79%) were living in formal housing while a fifth were in informal (12%) or traditional (8%) housing.

1.2      Electricity:

The overwhelming majority (92%) of adults in South Africa were living in households that used electricity for lighting. A small proportion were using candles, paraffin or other energy sources, although it should be noted that this proportion still translates into almost 3 million South African adults that are not using electricity for lighting purposes.

A very high proportion (97%) of respondents living in formal dwellings were using electricity for lighting purposes as opposed to seven out of every ten (72%) respondents living in traditional dwellings and two thirds (67%) of those living in informal dwellings. Electricity access was similarly high across metropolitan (95%) and urban (95%) areas and was impressively high in rural areas (85%) as well.

1.3      Water:

Respondents were asked about the main water source for their household. More than half (52%) of respondents were found to be living in dwellings with tap water inside the dwelling, slightly higher than the proportion found by GHS 2016. A further quarter (23%) had a tap in their yard, while one in ten (12%) used a neighbour’s or communal tap to get water. Overall, almost nine out of every ten (87%) adults in South Africa had access to piped water.

A small proportion (3%) of respondents were getting water from other sources – a borehole or a rainwater tank – within their yard. However, one in ten (10%) were accessing water from non-piped sources outside of their yards such as streams, rivers, dams, springs, water carriers or tankers.

1.4      Sanitation:

More than two thirds (68%) of all respondents had access to a flush toilet or a chemical toilet, slightly higher than the findings of GHS 2016. When combined with those who had access to a ventilated pit latrine, it was found that four fifths (82%) of all adults in South Africa had access to what Stats SA term “improved sanitation”.

1.5      Refuse disposal:

The survey looked at the ways in which the respondents’ households disposed of their refuse. Almost two thirds (63%) of respondents lived in households where their refuse was collected by the local municipality, a private company or the community at least once a week. Approximately a quarter (27%) placed their refuse on their own dump, burned it in a pit or buried it. Only 5% of adults lived in households with no organised means of refuse disposal and would dispose of their refuse anywhere in the street or veld.

Respondents living in formal dwellings were far more likely (71%) to have their refuse collected at least once a week than those living in informal (42%) or traditional (9%) dwellings.


The Minister welcomes the views of the people that local government was doing badly on delivering local services and more critical of local government’s performance in reporting back to the people. He said that “This baseline survey report will assist the Department to follow up with Municipalities on issues that require immediate attention and ensure that interventions are provided to address challenges on service delivery”.




Legadima Leso

CoGTA Communications

Cell: 083 378 9495


Issued by Ministry for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs