The institute said in a statement that 57% of the population now had access to free basic water.
The data, culled from its 2002-03 South Africa Survey, also found that the proportion of households with access to clean water for domestic use increased from 79% to 84% between 1995 and 2000, while the proportion of households with access to flush or chemical toilets remained at around 57% in the same period.
"Clean water" includes running water in the dwelling, on site, or in a yard, and water from public taps or water-carriers/tankers. In the section on Living Conditions and Communications, the survey notes that as at August 2002, 57% of the population had access to free basic water. Other living conditions highlighted in the survey include access to electricity, sources of energy, refuse disposal, telephone lines, radio and television. Types of housing and number of units constructed are also covered.
The proportion of households with electricity increased from 63% to 66% from 2000 to 2001.
However, an estimated 51% of rural households were reportedly still without electricity in 2001.
Radio was almost universally available with 91% of households having one, while television set penetration of households was much lower at 67%.
As at March 2002, 4,93-million telephone lines were connected, a slight decrease from the previous year.
As could be expected, Internet penetration was low, with 96% of adults having no access to this system of communication.
Housing was another socio-economic issue that comes to the fore in the survey.
Over seven million people await delivery of houses.
A look at the total number of houses completed or being constructed shows that only just over 120 000 houses were built in 2001-02, down from slightly over 200 000 in the previous year. By October 2002, the Department of Land Affairs had settled 44% of land restitution claims.
To that end, the survey notes that government intends to redistribute 30% of agricultural land to emerging black farmers by 2015. – Sapa.