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

During 2016, the Electrical Contractors’ Association of South Africa, the ECA(SA), told MyBroadband South Africa’s new plug standard would become semi-mandatory.

A proposed amendment to the wiring code requires that from March 2018, all outlets in new installations must include at least one socket that complies with SANS 164–2.

SANS 164–2 (or ZA Plug) has the same hexagonal profile as the Europlug seen on cellphone chargers – but allows for an earth pin.

Cecil Lancaster, regional director of the ECA(SA), said the new draft of the code was circulated for public comment and there was no comment on making ZA Plug semi-mandatory.

However, comments received on other items resulted in changes forcing the consultation process to be repeated.

This may result in a delay in the publication of the amendments, which means they may also reconsider the implementation date of March 2018.

ZA Plug wiring code amendment

ZA Plug is the new conventional

Gianfranco Campetti, the chairman of the working group that looks after the standard, said we can expect subtle changes in 2017.

South Africa’s old triangular three-prong standard, SANS 164–1, will no longer be referred to as the “conventional” system.

The “conventional” title will be transferred to ZA Plug and SANS 164–1 will likely be renamed the “alternative” South African plug and socket system.

“Manufacturers will increasingly develop products for SANS 164–2.”

This includes the new dedicated SANS 164–2–1 and SANS 164–2–2 for special installations that require degrees of dedicated circuits such as UPS, emergency supplies, and non-earth-leakage-protected outlets such as lighting and computer power supplies.

“Internally to these standards will be some work on the test gauges and general clause amendments which are not visible to the end user in any way,” said Campetti.

He emphasised that the old standard will not be withdrawn.

“[It] will continue to be installed as an alternative for the foreseeable future.”

South Africa's new plug standard

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