SAIRR - Life in SA has improved

According to survey, a total of 80% of households have access to piped water.

A total of 80% of households have access to piped water, according to the 2012 General Household Survey. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - The South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) says the quality of life has improved for many South African households.

Last week, Stats SA released its 2012 General Household Survey which was conducted between July and September 2012.

The survey tracked service delivery since 2002 including housing, access to electricity and household income.

The study revealed an improvement in key service delivery.

However, the survey also showed a decline in the perceived quality of these services.

Acting Head of Research at SAIRR, Lerato Moloi, told The Redi Tlhabi Show that there was a material difference in the rollout of services.

"The percentage of households since 1994 has increased by almost 60 percent, but if you look at access to services by these households, it has increased even more. There has been a material difference in service delivery rollout and this is not looking at quality.

"For example, the use of electricity for cooking in households has increased by 140 percent since 1994 and access to piped water has increased by 80 percent. People now have flush lavatories hich increased by 90 percent.

"So there is a material difference in the rollout of services, but an important fact that the perceived quality of these services show people aren't happy with what they have."

Moloi blamed poor education for people's dependence on government.

"These very improvements have driven increased expectations of future improvements. So people now have more and you know revolutionary theory supports the suggestion that if you give people more, they will obviously want more.

"These cannot be met unfortunately because our education system is in a poor state and our labour market denies many young people the opportunity to go and get a job and be self-efficient.

"I think this will explain the fact that despite a huge rollout of basis services people are still unable to pay for these themselves or to sustain themselves and that's why people aren't happy."

She said the quality of life has improved for most people.

"Overall, we have to be cognisant of the fact that things have improved, they are not as grim as they look. If you look at living standards measures in terms of what people have in their homes, these numbers show people have moved from the lower LSM categories, where people basically have nothing.

"People have started moving up into LSM categories four to 10 and dramatically so."