South Africa’s new sockets and plugs: Everything you need to know

South Africa has a new standard for electrical sockets and plugs. Known as SANS 164-2, the standard, developed by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), replaces SANS 164-1 (the large, three-pin plugs used in the country for decades).
In this episode of the podcast, TechCentral is joined by Gianfranco Campetti, who has played an instrumental role at the SABS in helping define SANS 164-2, to discuss the implications of the standard, why it’s needed and what it means for consumers.
Campetti sets the scene by providing a history of socket and plug standards in South Africa and how they have evolved over the decades, why almost every country has its own standard, and why an attempt to create one global standard after World War 2 failed.
He touches on why German Schuko plugs became popular in South Africa – they’re illegal, but still widely used – and why cellphone and power tools manufacturers gave the SABS a headache by refusing to comply with local plug standards and how the bureau responded.
The conversation then turns to SANS 164-2, including a look at why it is a better and safer standard than SANS 164-1. How long will it take for South Africa to embrace the new standard, do appliance manufacturers need to do more to promote it, and what will happen to SANS 164-1 plugs?
We recommend you watch the video version of this podcast, though an audio version is also available.