There has been a decrease in the number of people living in informal dwellings in South Africa, according to a Stats SA survey released on Thursday.

It said that in mid-2009, 13.4 percent of households lived in informal dwellings, down on 15 percent in 2007 and 2005, when previous household surveys were done.

The survey, which looked at the circumstances of South African households, showed that though the state housing subsidy had increased, the quality of houses was in question.

At least 16 percent of respondents said the walls of RDP houses were weak, while 15 percent complained about weakness of roofs.

The Western Cape and the Eastern Cape were worst in this regard, with more than 30 percent of occupants facing problems of poor construction.

"Maybe this is where the minister of housing should start demolishing houses," Stats SA's deputy director-general Lesedi Dibakwane said.

She emphasised though that this year's survey confirm a number of continuing positive trends related to service delivery.

These included improved access to education services and facilities and an uptake of educational opportunities.

The study found that the proportion of youth aged 20 years and older with tertiary qualifications had increased from 9.2 percent to 10.9 percent, while functional illiteracy rates had declined over the same period.

Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West and the Northern Cape remained the provinces with the highest illiteracy rates. - Sapa