Access to good quality potable water and adequate sanitation, is a global human right. Efficient water access is critical for human wellbeing and supporting the economy and the jobs and livelihoods it supports. In a water scarce country like South Africa, water use efficiency is paramount. Appropriate plumbing systems are important for the safe provision of water and the efficient processing of wastewater.

Plumbers install and repair water provisioning, drainage and sewerage pipes and systems. They are involved with the construction of new houses and plumbing systems, but also with assessing and fixing problems in existing and older systems. Plumbers can specialise in the installation and maintenance of sustainable plumbing systems such as rainwater tanks, solar hot water and greywater plumbing systems that will assist users in efficient water use and reducing environmental impact.

Plumbers work in a variety of domestic, commercial and municipal locations. They interact with a variety of people from homeowners to building and construction managers. Workhours can vary, especially with emergencies.


Plumbers must have a sound knowledge of plumbing practices, legal compliance and safety regulations. They will benefit from physical stamina and:

  • Good manual dexterity and coordination
  • Ability to read and interpret blueprints
  • Problem-solving competence
  • Foundational measuring and mathematical ability


Measure, cut, thread, bend, join, assemble, install, maintain and repair plumbing features

Install dishwashers and water heaters, sinks and toilets

Lay clay, concrete or cast-iron pipes to form sewers, drains or water mains

Inspect, examine and test installed systems and pipes


Plumbers are trained through a National Certificate in Engineering Studies in Plumbing at National Qualifications Framework Level 1 to 3 offered at all Technical and Vocational Education and Training Colleges across the country.

They can also qualify with a General Certificate in Plumbing offered at Eastcape Training Centre, SA Plumbing Trade School and uMfolozi Technical and Vocational Education and Training College.

Vocational registration of plumbers is a requirement for practice.


National, provincial and local government.

Plumbing and pipe-fitting companies.

Construction companies.

Independent consultancies.

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