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Local elections: Three incorrect claims

By Jessica Anne Wood

With the local government elections tomorrow, political parties around country are pulling out all the stops in their final hours of campaigning. Over the weekend, the African National Congress (ANC), the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) held election rallies but according to Africa Check, some of the claims made by all three parties are not accurate.

Anim van Wyk and Vinayak Bhardwaj from Africa Check found the following three errors as stated by the political parties.

  1. A statement by President Jacob Zuma for the ANC

In a speech, Zuma reportedly claimed: “In 1994 we took over as the democratic government just over 50% of households had access to clean piped water and today over 95% of our people enjoy access to clean piped water.”

However, van Wyk and Bhardwaj revealed that this is incorrect. While it is difficult to find the figure for the number of households that had access to piped water in 1994, the figure for today (2016) is incorrect.

“South Africa’s most recent nationally representative survey on service delivery is the 2016 Community Survey, released earlier this month. It shows that 89.1% of households in the country has access to piped water. The rest relies on rivers, streams, boreholes, rainwater tanks or other sources of water,” noted van Wyk and Bhardwaj.

The earliest, most credible data source with regards to access to clean water is considered the 1996 Census. Van Wyk and Bhardwaj pointed out that this found “that 60,7% of households had access to piped water in their dwelling or yard, with 20,8% using public taps, for a total of 81.5%.”

  1. A statement by Mmusi Maimane for the DA

An incorrect statement made by Maimane over the weekend claimed “In Midvaal... unemployment is half of what it is for the rest of Gauteng.”

While it is correct that unemployment in Midvaal is the lowest in Gauteng, it is not half of what it is in the rest of the province, according to van Wyk and Bhardwaj’s research.

The narrow definition of unemployment (counting people actively looking for work) is at 18.8%, and the expanded one (including people who’ve given up looking for a job) at 25.5%, according to the DA’s national election manifesto.

However, figures released in the 2011 Census revealed that Gauteng had a 26.3% narrow unemployment rate and a 32.8% expanded unemployment rate. These figures reveal that while Midvaal has a lower unemployment rate, the DA were incorrect in their claim that it was half the rest of Gauteng.

  1. A statement by Julius Malema for the EFF

The final statement examined by van Wyk and Bhardwaj was one made by Malema. He stated: “I will increase [the old people's pension grant]. An elderly person will get R3,000 upwards. The child grants... we will increase it. A child will get R600 upwards.”

While it may be his aim to increase these grants, this statement is incorrect in that it is not within local government’s power or ability to make these changes.

Jaconia Kobue of the department of social development, told van Wyk and Bhardwaj: “Grant values are a national government competence and neither local or provincial governments play any significant role in determining these values.”

Van Wyk and Bhardwaj noted that the only way a municipality can assist the poor is with their Indigent Policies. These are “intended to guide the national initiative to improve the lives of poor people and to improve access to free basic services (water, electricity and sanitation),” they explained.

Remember to make your mark tomorrow and let your voice be heard by casting your vote. Voting stations are open between 07:00 and 19:00. Don’t forget to take your identity document with you.


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