New South African plug standard – 6 reasons it is better than our old plugs

News that South Africa’s new plug standard may become semi-mandatory for new installations made headlines earlier this year.

Called SANS 164–2, or ZA Plug, the standard has the same shape as the Europlug and has been the preferred standard for new installations since 2013.

The Electrical Contractors’ Association of South Africa said that changes to our Wiring Code were under consideration to alter the wording of “preferred standard” to something more definitive, like:

For new installations, effective from March 2018, all socket outlets shall incorporate at least one socket complying to the dimensions of SANS 164–2.

Several commentators were in favour of the new standard, while others raised concerns about South Africa adopting a standard that isn’t widely used.

There are a number of benefits to the ZA Plug, though, even if it has not been widely adopted across 220–250V 50Hz countries (as the International Electrotechnical Commission had hoped).

Here are several pros of the new standard.


Cellphone chargers and devices using Europlugs will fit in our wall sockets

Any standard Europlug will fit into our new sockets.

Europlug charger transformer


We can get rid of infuriating adapters like these

That means no more jiggling a two-prong plug to get it to work, or struggling to get it to go into low-quality adapters.

Europlug Type C to Type M adapter


No more multi-plugs that are not fully utilised

Many electronic devices come to South Africa with Europlugs attached, resulting in adapters never seeing an “old” three-pronged plug.

Multiplug with only Europlugs used


Where old wall sockets could fit two plugs, new ones can fit many more

You can fit at least two ZA Plugs into the space of the old Type M socket.

ZA Plug SANS 164-2 wall socket

Which means wall sockets will no longer look like this.

Wall socket fire hazard


Children’s fingers and small objects will no longer fit into wall sockets

The smaller holes and safety shutters mean they are a safer option when compared to our current sockets.

Baby playing with multiplug


Power plugs take up less space in a bag

The SANS 164–2 standard means that plugs and cables will take up less space when being transported.

Denim messenger bag


This is why South Africa has a new plug standard

South Africa’s new plug standard – soon a must for new installations

South Africa’s new plug standard: what to expect

The truth about SA’s “new” electrical plug standard

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New South African plug standard – 6 reasons it is better than our old plugs