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SOUTH AFRICA PREPARES TO STAND ALONE WITH AN ELECTRICAL CONFIGURATION USED BY ONLY 1 OTHER COUNTRY IN THE WORLD

13 Feb 2014 – SOUTH Africa is to switch to an electrical plug and socket configuration that has been around since the early 1990s and is seen as the world’s safest, but has not been taken up by other countries. The only other country to use the configuration is  Brazil meaning that South Africans will have to buy new adaptors.

South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) electrotechnical standards development manager Willa Breed said that the new plugs and sockets would have “a long, long phase-in period, more than 20 years”; however, plugs and sockets in this configuration will be available from about April and appliances using the configuration are already being exported to South Africa.

Small and hexagonal with three pins, the new socket is safer because it has a “skirt” that does not allow the exposure of live plug pins, according to Electrical Contracting Board of South Africa chairman Tony McDonald. This mean that children cannot be electrocuted playing with the socket or a plug, Also, people cannot jerry-rig connections using exposed live pins, as is possible with the commonly used three-pin plug.

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