South Africa: Zuma Wrong - More Than 34 Percent of SA Homes Had Electricity Access in 1994

What share of South African households had access to electricity in 1994?

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma repeated a debunked answer to this question at the opening of an energy conference.

"Over the past 23 years of our democracy, we have been able to increase [electricity] access from a mere 34% to 85% of our population," claimed Zuma.

The figure of 34% is most probably from 1990 or 1991, experts previously told Africa Check, but there is no credible data available for the dawn of South Africa's democracy.

Around 50% had access in '94

President Jacob Zuma greets delegates on arrival at the Energy Indaba 2017 at Gallagher Estate Convention Centre in Midrand. Photo: GCIS

Between 1993 and 1994 the Southern Africa Labour Development Research Unit conducted a national survey which found that 53.6% of households had access to electricity.

South Africa's national statistics agency, Statistics South Africa, conducted a census in 1996 which estimated that 58.2% of households in South Africa had access to electricity. The latest data from the agency shows that access increased to 84.2% in 2016.

Access to electricity in South Africa during the early 1990s was low. It was also unequal, with just 38.5% of black households having had access in 1993/94, compared to basically all white households (99.8%).

However, by citing a lower and unsubstantiated figure, Zuma exaggerated the roll-out of services by the ANC-government since 1994.

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