Statistician General Pali Lehohla releases GHS 2013 results at Tshedimosetso House in Pretoria, Wednesday, 18 June 2014. Picture: GCIS/SAPA

Pretoria - Municipalities are improving service delivery across South Africa, Statistician General Pali Lehohla said on Tuesday.

Provision of services like water and electricity increased, Lehohla said at the release of the 2013 non-financial census of municipalities in Pretoria.

While 9.7 million households received water in 2009, the figure climbed to 11.8m in 2013. Between the 2012 and 2013 financial year, 227,381 new electricity connections were recorded.

He said poverty across South Africa declined over the past five years. It had however become “feminized”, with more women struggling economically, compared to men.

“By race, poverty amongst whites is really unknown but it's much higher amongst blacks. By household head, it follows the racial pattern,” Lehohla said.

“On poverty incidence by education level (of household head), the lower the education you have, the more poor you will be. By settlement type, poverty has become associated with rural areas compared to urban areas.”

The survey indicates that across South Africa, 11.8m households were receiving water as a basic service while 5.3m received it as a free basic service.

A total of 10m households received electricity as a basic service while 2.5m received power as a free basic service.

Regarding sewerage and sanitation, Lehohla said 10m received this basic service while more than 3m received it free of charge.

The census examines the provision of basic and free services, including water and sanitation. It looks at income, employment and indigent households in municipalities.

Indigent households, including child-headed families, are registered with municipalities and qualify for rebates/remissions. These households also receive support or service subsidies.

Lehohla said there were 3.4m indigent households across South Africa.

In the 2013 survey, KwaZulu-Natal topped the list of indigent households with 826 566. The Northern Cape had the least, with 74 239 registered indigent families.

The survey established that the number of households using the bucket toilet system was on the increase from 2012.

“We had 73 413 still using the bucket system. That has increased to 99 102,” Lehohla said.

“Those are the households using the bucket system and we have their predominance in the Free State, Eastern Cape, and the Northern Cape.”