South Africa's new wall plug standard

Demystifying the new ZA plug.

I often get asked the questions Ė ĎIíve heard they are doing away with the three-pronged plug and going on to a two-pronged plug, when is that happening?í and 'Will I have to replace all the plugs in my house?'

(The ZA plug referred to here is the SANS 164-2 type plug)
People are concerned that their appliances working on 3 pronged plugs will simply not work anymore. At the same time, they are concerned because they already have all these two-pronged cell-phone chargers that also need to be plugged in. Letís face it, people like their comfort zones, they do not like change.

So, letís clear up the basics.

1.You will not have to rip out all the three pronged (female) plugs in your house and replace them with the new-standard plugs. Not even to get a Certificate of Compliance, or COC, as they are known. The old three-pronged plugs will be around for a good many years.

2.In completely new buildings, ie not additions to buildings or any old buildings, it is mandatory that every plug must have at least 1 of the new-standard plugs. Read that carefully, it does not state that you cannot install the old type three-pronged plug, but simply that you have to install at least one of the new ones as well. And, this is only for brand-new buildings. So the plugs in your old building are safe.

3.The new-standard plug is compatible with your cell-phone chargers, and by default thus with most other two-pronged chargers.

4.The difference between the cell-charger and other plugs is that the cell-charger does not have an earth. The new type female has space for an earth, but will still work if a two-pronged plug is used.

We all know what a pain it is to use the cell-charger type plugs, they are forever falling out or hanging skew. The proper new ones are recessed, which prevents this from happening.


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