SPAID Programmes SPAID Projects


The Support Programme for Accelerated Infrastructure Development / Projects

Universal Household Access to Basic Services (uHABs) Index


To develop an indicator for independently measuring and communicating the extent and nature of basic service backlogs in communities and demonstrating its application.


The Eradication of Basic Services backlogs are a priority for the South African Government. The eradication of the bucket toilet system, ensuring all households have access to water and sanitation services’, increasing the population’s domestic waste collection service and electrification are part of the government’s commitment to halving poverty by 2014.

The Department of Provincial and Local Government is responsible for coordinating and reporting to Cabinet on the national achievement in the eradication of these backlogs.

The current challenge faced by dplg is the absence of an agreed measure of universal access to basic services and agreement in respect of minimum standards. Consequently current reporting efforts are frustrated and met by challenges from line departments and municipalities.

dplg therefore require an objective, consistent measure in order to track levels of household access to basics services and changes over time.


The rationale for this project is the need for dplg to report on a regular and consistent basis in respect of household access to basic services in line with its mandate and the government’s commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The development of an uHABs index based on agreed national statistics will provide a single point of reference and measure to assess the relative performance of municipalities, provinces and the country as a whole.

This will furthermore feed into the dplg’s broader communications and advocacy projects which aim to mobilise more effective governmental responses to backlog eradication. It is the intention of the uHABs to focus political pressure in support of meeting the backlog eradication targets.


The project will involve the development of an index for uHABs based on the following services:

  • Water
  • Sanitation
  • Electricity
  • Domestic Refuse Removal

The intention is to undertake an analysis of StatsSA data (Census and Household Survey) in order to develop a uHABs index that measures universal household access to basics services in respect of:

  • % households with full access
  • % deviations by service dimension

This will be measured at municipal, provincial and national level.

A key consideration in this project will be the agreement (at least broad consensus) in respect of the definitions of minimum service levels applicable to each service area in different urban/ rural context. Such consensus will be critical to ensuring the overall objectivity of the analytical process.

A clear and consistant reporting format will be prepared that should provide a quick snapshot of access levels per municipality, province and at national level.

Strategic Partners

  • dplg


  • Broad-based and consistent understanding of the challenge and progress on the eradication of basic infrastructure backlogs amongst defined audiences.
  • Responsible authorities participate in the uniform reporting framework.


  • Indicators and methodology for measuring and communicating universal access to basic services
Telephone: + 27 11 447 6388

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