All electric plug adapters must now come with a new symbol – what you need to know

Business Insider SA
  • The SABS has issued new standards for SA's electric plug systems. 
  • All new adapters are now required to come embossed with a symbol that warns users that adapters must not be plugged into one another.
  • The SANS 164-0 plug and outlet system became compulsory in 2018.
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The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) recently issued new requirements for South Africa’s electric plug systems, which includes a compulsory new symbol that needs to be embossed on all adapters.

The symbol warns users that adapters are not permitted to be plugged into one another:

Source: SABS

“This was due to the safety risk to the consumer as the straining of the socket-outlet can cause a short-circuit between the neutral and live pins. This symbol has to be embossed on the adapter to warn consumers on the danger of plugging adapters from one another,” says Sadhvir Bissoon, executive of standards at the SABS.

The standard is part of the SANS 164-0 plug and outlet system requirements, which were adopted in South Africa at the start of 2018.

The new SANS 164-2 plug and outlet system.

It is now compulsory to install the new SANS 164-2 plug and outlet system, which supplements the three-pronged, round pin plug.

These plugs have been the standard since the 1950s, and have been blamed for fires and electrocutions. 

The new SANS 164-2 plug has three pins, including an earth pin to protect the users from electric shock. But two pin plugs are still allowed in South Africa for products that do not require to be earthed, including cell phone chargers. The old three-pronged plugs are also still allowed, but new outlets must accommodate the new plug:

READ | Everything you need to know about South Africa’s compulsory new electric plug

Other new SANS 164-0 standards include a reduction in the minimum clearance of the socket-outlet surface to 8.0 mm from 120 mm:

Source: SABS

Also, there are new standards for how multiple socket-outlets for fixed installation should be switched:

Source: SABS

“The construction industry, electricians and households need to be aware of the amended requirements for South Africa,” said Bissoon.

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