Since the beginning of 2018, an amendment to socket outlet regulations has introduced a brand new plug to the South African circuit.

At least one socket outlet complying with the dimensions of new SANS 164-2, similar to that of our current two-prong plugs but with a hexagonal shape and an additional earth pin in the centre, must be installed on all new electrical fittings.

Left: New SANS 164-2, Right: Old SANS 164-1


For decades, the most common plug and socket used in SA has been the SANS 164-1, a familiar triangular electrical plug/socket.

This standard plug may still be used in existing installations and, over the next 10 to 50 years, it will gradually be replaced with the more effective and safer newly introduced fitting, according to the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS).

While the transition is taking place, locals will only be able to connect to the socket by using an adaptor.

Why are our plug points changing?

The newly-introduced addition to our electrical outlets is a lot safer than the ones SA has been using for years, because of its 12mm well that ensures the live terminals are not exposed.

This makes it more difficult to interfere with the parts of the plug that are dangerous and increases its safety around children.

The modern plug fitting is also more effective and universal, as it fits an international standard.

Appliance manufacturers will also slowly but surely be making the move over to the new fitting, this means locals will need to be more mindful of future purchases and their compatibility.


Pictures: Unplash/

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