Beware of these unsafe plug adapters in South Africa

The Safehouse Association is an industry initiative which aims to protect consumers, exposing unsafe products and services.

It said there are many substandard electricity products and services available in South Africa.

“These products are usually at lower prices than compliant products, and you could be attracted to acquiring potentially-dangerous products and services,” it said.

“There is a proliferation of electrical products in the South African market that are illegal because they do not meet compulsory specifications.”

“Many of them are unsafe and unsuspecting users risk electrocution and destruction of their assets.”

The Safehouse Association has issued warnings about such products, examples of which are depicted below.

“Reference to a particular brand or recognisable design does not necessarily indicate that the product concerned is still being offered for sale or that it remains non-compliant or unsafe, as the defects may have been corrected by the supplier since first publication of the warning.”

“Nevertheless, these cases serve as a general warning to buyers about the hazard. More information is available on the Safehouse website.”

Unsafe plug socket

The design of internal components, not visible to the buyer or user, can result in arcing, temperature rise, and fire.

This product does not pass the regulatory tests SANS 164-1 and SANS IEC 60884-1.

The socket has been reported to the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) and the National Consumer Commission (NCC).


Unsafe multiplug adapter

This product fails regulatory tests SANS 164-1, SANS 164-2, and SANS 164-6.

Loss of proper electrical contact, damage to the pins of the inserted plug, and exposure of a live plug pin, leading to overheating, fire, and electrocution of the user, are all possibilities.

This product has been reported to the NRCS and the NCC.

Unsafe miltiplug

Unsafe extension cord

This extension lead displays no evidence of having been tested or approved for sale.

The core wiring of the cord appears to be copper, a good conductor of electricity.

On closer examination, though, the conductor turns out to be copper-coated aluminium.

This conductor has an electrical resistance measurement of 190 Ohms instead of the regulatory 19 Ohms, placing it at risk of overheating and catching fire.

The product also fails three other compliances required by regulations. It has been reported to the NRCS and the NCC.

Extension Cord

Unsafe plug adapter

This product displays an SABS test report number, implying its conformance with regulations. However, it does not pass the single pole insertion test.

Consequently, a plug can be inserted as illustrated below, rendering the exposed pin live when connected to a supply of electricity.

Anyone touching the exposed pin will be electrocuted. This product has been reported to the NRCS and the NCC.

Plug adapter

Unsafe adapter

This plug-in adapter poses many risks, including overheating and electric shock if the pins are touched on plug insertion.

The malfunctioning of the protective shutter can allow entry of single metal objects and there is the risk of live pins being exposed on entry.

Plugin adapter

Unbranded and plug-in adapter

The adapter shown below poses many risks, including electric shock.

There is no earth-leakage protection, live pins are exposed on entry, and there is no identification on the product.

“This product design is dangerous and has been banned for many years,” said the Safehouse Association.


Unsafe plug-in adapter

This product can suffer from overheating and problematic functionality.

The entry holes are too small, which can cause possible damage to the plug, and a malfunctioning protective shutter can allow entry of single metal objects.

Unsafe adapter

Now read: South Africa’s new plug standard – what to expect from ZA Plug in 2017

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Beware of these unsafe plug adapters in South Africa