Statistics South Africa published the General Household Survey report last month with statistics about South African households in 2013, including a section about Internet and telecommunications.
The main finding is that 40.9% of South African households have at least one member who either used the Internet at home or had access to it elsewhere – which on the surface sounds like a promising number – until you find out that only 10% of households had Internet access at home. That means that 30% of the people who go online do it either at work (16%), school/university (5.1%) or at an Internet cafe (9.6%). Access to the Internet at home was highest among households in the Western Cape (21.1%) and Gauteng (15.7%) and the lowest in the North West (4.5%) and Limpopo (3%). Unsurprisingly, there are far more households in metropolitan areas that have Internet access at home (16,4%), compared with households in rural areas (2%) – and 9.2% in urban areas. It’s clear that cell phones offer more access for rural households – 17.9% of rural households go online using mobile devices, with a 30.8% total of South African households using mobile devices to access the Internet.
When you compare these findings with Statistics South Africa’s numbers from 2012, there has only been a marginal increase in household Internet access. In the 2012 report, 40.6% of households have at least one member who access the Internet, and 9.8% of South African households have Internet access at home.