The South African SANS 164 standard
The full list of plug types used in the Republic of South Africa are listed on this page for reference and technical help; please see our standard South African page for a general overview and the parts we hold in stock. These plugs and corresponding sockets originally being based on the old BS546 plugs used in the British Empire and used in South Africa since the 1920s.
They are still used in many Commonwealth nations: generally central and southern Africa, India and surrounding nations, some parts of the Middle East and Asia.
SANS 164-1 and SANS164-3 are compatible with UK BS546 and Indian IS1293, although there are differences. BS546 requires sockets to be shuttered (older SANS 164 sockets are not), and UK and India require the rewireable plug to show the earth terminal has been connected (usually a small inspection hole on the top of the plug directly above the earth pin). BS546 plugs must have partially insulated line and neutral pins, and may have an optional BS646 fuse.
The overall standard is SANS 164 (South African National Standard) “Plug and socket-outlet systems for household and similar purposes for use in South Africa”, which has several sub-categories as listed below. All are rated up to 250V AC, and all are polarised by design except the SANS 164-6. Approval in South Africa in normally by SABS, the South African Bureau of Standards, but inspection can be by other bodies.
The plugs and sockets of different current ratings are different sizes, so are not interchangeable. Power outlets may have more than one type of socket, e.g. 6A and 16A superimposed on each other, or new type and old type next to each other. Whilst not a requirement, most South African sockets have on/off switches.