New South African Plug Regulations. 

For years South Africa has been using the SANS 164-1, the familiar and unwieldy triangular configuration we all know so well, but as of January 2018 an amendment to the socket outlet regulations introduced SANS 164-2 and with it, a brand new plug.

The “ZA Plug” has the same hexagonal profile as the Europlug, which we commonly see on cellphone chargers, but includes an earth pin placed near the middle of the plug. Whilst similar in the three-prong aspect, the plug is a whole lot more compact and much safer than the triangular plugs and sockets that have been in use. It also brings us in-line with a more international standard, the same one adopted by Europe and Brazil.

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So what does this all mean in terms of laws and phasing out the old plugs? Regulations now state that all new buildings are required to integrate sockets which comply with the new standard, so your sockets will need to look something like this:

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There has been some confusion surrounding this as people wonder if renovations and/or extensions fall under “new buildings”. Luckily, the standard applies only to “totally new buildings”, meaning that maintenance or extensions are excluded. Another good piece of news is that the old standard still remains completely legal and so SANS 164-2 won’t affect existing buildings. However, the ZA Plug is the preferred standard and the goal is to phase out the old familiar three-prong. According to the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), this could take anything from 10 to 50 years and locals have the convenience of using an adaptor in order to connect to the new sockets. It will take a little while for appliance companies and such to transition. As with any new change, it all takes time to adapt.

So why change the standard and what benefits are there to doing so? Let’s have a look:

Benefits of the New South African Plug Regulations:

• ZA plug is far more compact than the traditional triangular plug.
• Recessed sockets mean that ZA Plug is a lot safer than existing ones as live terminals are not exposed.
• This means that children can no longer attempt to stick their fingers in the wide and open sockets of the triangular socket.
• The new standard is more universal and fits an international standard.
• It is so much easier to charge cellphones when the charger will fit straight into the wall socket.
• No more time wasted looking for those annoying double adaptors and wiggling your two-prong plug for ages to get it to work.
• You can fit at least two ZA Plug sockets in the same space you would’ve been able to fit one old triangular socket, making it easier to have more plug points without taking up your whole wall with those multi-plug adaptors.
• Overall neater appearance of plugs and cables.
So there you have it, all the basic information on the new South African plug regulations. I hope that puts your mind at ease and kindles a little excitement for a safer, neater, and more convenient system coming your way.

Norgarb Properties Agent Andre Ter Moshuizen who specialises in the Claremont area, shares some household tips and handy home hints with you every month. Read more of his articles here.

Andre Ter Moshuizen: 082 602 1367 | |