Pretoria - The Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal have the highest number of indigent households in the country, Statistics SA said on Tuesday.The number of indigent households in South Africa is currently 3.5 million, Statistician General Pali Lehohla told reporters in Pretoria.The Eastern Cape saw an increase of more than 21 000 households from 2013 placing the figure at 828 371. While KwaZulu-Natal, which currently has 770 049 indigent households, saw an increase of more than 4 200 households from 2013.Indigent households are targeted for service delivery as they are defined by government as the poorest households within municipalities. They also qualify for free basic services.But despite the significant rise in the number, Stats SA recorded a drop in the provision of free basic services nationally. Only 2.5 million of these households received free water during the same period. Two million received free basic electricity and about 2.1 million of these households received free basic sewerage, sanitation and solid waste management services.Part of the reason for the drop was because municipalities decided to change the manner in which they provide the services. Instead of having a broad-based approach to a specific suburb or area, households within the area had to prove to municipalities that they were in need of discounted services.During this process, households which had not updated their economic status were also removed.Lehohla said another reason why the number of such households had increased so significantly was due to municipalities updating their registers.