ANC promise: 435 000 electricity grid connections in 5 months a tall order

The energy department says close to 1.2 million homes were connected to the electricity grid between April 2014 and October 2018. Picture: UIG via Getty Images
The energy department says close to 1.2 million homes were connected to the electricity grid between April 2014 and October 2018. Picture: UIG via Getty Images

Just more than five years ago, the ANC released its 2014 election manifesto. Did the ruling party keep the promises it made then? We track a selection.

PROMISE: An additional 1.6 million homes will be connected to the electricity grid in the next five years

In 2014 – when the ANC made this promise – close to 12.8 million households had access to mains electricity, according to Stats SA’s General Household Survey.

This increased by 876 000 households to 13.7 million in 2017 (the latest available data).

The energy department said 1 164 758 homes were connected to the grid between April 2014 and October 2018. Spokesperson Thandiwe Maimane explained the difference between the two sets of numbers: “Stats SA has its own methodology, which is statistically based compared with our actual reported numbers based on projects we fund and monitor.”

The source of the numbers for the first three years is from the department’s annual reports.


The release of its annual report for 2017/2018 has been delayed but the department said the report would show 275 830 grid connections.

The number of connections installed from April to October last year – also provided by the department – has not been audited.

READ: 5 million work opportunities instead of 6 million for ANC?

5 months to connect 435 000 houses

An additional 435 242 households would need to be connected between November 2018 and March 2019 if the ANC is to keep its manifesto promise.

Based on the pace of delivery to date, this seems unlikely.

Government projections also suggest the promise will not be kept.

The energy department has reduced its five-year target.

It had planned to connect 1.452 million households between 2014/2015 and 2018/2019. The new figure is 1.25 million.

Asked why the target was revised, Maimane said it was “due to budget reduction from National Treasury”.



The provisional total for electricity connections to the grid installed up until October 2018, coupled with the downward revision of the department’s five-year target, suggests that the promise of 1.6 million connections is unlikely to be fulfilled


Lerato Monethi, the ANC’s national elections communications manager, acknowledged receipt of a request for comment on our findings on Wednesday and said the party would “revert”. However, no response was received within the 48 hours provided. She could not be reached via WhatsApp, email, SMS or phone on Friday. When the ANC does respond, City Press and Africa Check will update the online versions of these promises to reflect the party’s comment.

  • This package is part of a journalism partnership with Africa Check, the continent’s leading fact-checking organisation. The project aims to ensure that claims made by those in charge of state resources and of delivering essential services are factually correct. In the run-up to this year’s national and provincial elections, it is increasingly important that voters are able to make informed decisions. This series aims to provide voters with the tools to do that. Africa Check and City Press will be tracking more of the ANC’s promises in the run-up to the election
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