Fact check: 8 claims made by Ramaphosa during the manifest launch checked

Fact check: 8 claims made by Ramaphosa during the manifest launch checked

Saturday saw the launch of the ANC election manifesto, delivered by President Cyril Ramaphosa to a stadium full of ANC supporters. But how much of what the President said was true and how much of it was fabricated? Briefly.co.za explores 8 of the claims he made

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With the Moses Mahbida Stadium full of eager ANC supporters the ruling party gathered to unveil their election manifesto this weekend.

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the party's game plan for their next term in power, should they manage to retain the position they have held since the birth of democracy in South Africa.

But how much of the claims made by the President were true and how much was elaborate fabrications or manipulations of the truth?

Briefly.co.za explores the validity of some of the claims made by Ramaphosa:

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  1. “Despite economic challenges over the last few years, our economy has tripled in size over the last 25 years. ”

- Conclusion: Misleading

The economy of a country is determined by its gross domestic product (GDP), which is the value of all goods and services produced, during the course of a year.

Ramaphosa's claim appears to be based on World Bank rates for the country's current GDP, which takes inflation into account.

According to the data the country's GDP grew 2.5 times since 1994 to 2017. The data for 2018 is not available yet.

According to Proffesor Jannie Rossouw, head of the school of economic and business sciences at Wits University, it is important to separate real economic growth from inflation. Rossouw explained that using nominal prices for GDP gives 'completely distorted figures'.

If one were to consider the economic growth without the inflation mentioned above the data shows the economy only grew 1.9 times from 1994 to 2017.

Professor Rossouw explains that:

“So in constant terms it did grow a little, but definitely not triple. And it is also not true on a per capita basis, which is even more important.”

2. “ Seven million more people are now employed today, than were employed in 1994.”

- Conclusion: Misleading

According to Statistics South Africa nearly 9 million people were employed in SA in 1994.

The latest data reveals the just over 16 million people were employed in September 2018.

This shows an increase of 7.4 million which is in line with Ramaphosa's claim. However, Statistics South Africa has cautioned against directly comparing the two report as they had been prepared differently.

It produces misleading results to only compare the number of employed people according to Kezia Lilenstein, a research analyst with the University of Cape Town said. She explains that:

“As the population increases, it is also the case that there are now more unemployed people. It is more meaningful to look at the proportion of people who are employed in the two time periods.”

3. “In 1994 only three out of 10 people in South Africa had electricity…”

- Conclusion: False

Unfortunately for Ramaphosa the claim that only 30% of people had electricity in their homes in 1994 is not new and has been proven false before.

While there isn't alot of data availble for this issue prior to 1994, Statistics South Africa shows that in 1995 63.5% of homes had used electricity for lighting.

However, Stats SA has said that this survey is not often used as the procedure used had been questionable. Instead it refers to more solid data from 1996 which found that 58.2% of homes had electricity.

The claim that in 1994 only around 30% of people in South Africa had electricity in their homes is not new and has been debunked before.

There isn’t much data on national access to electricity before 1994. Statistics South Africa’s earliest data on electricity access is from the 1995 October Household Survey. It found that 63.5% of households used electricity for lighting that year.

Stats SA told Africa Check that the 1995 data isn’t used often as the survey was “hamstrung by a series of methodological and practical issues”. The agency’s earliest solid data is from the 1996 Census, which found that 58.2% of households had electricity.

READ ALSO: President launches ANC Manifesto with promises of renewal and progress for SA

4. “…today eight out of 10 South Africans have electricity in their home.”

- Conclusion: True

Statistics South Africa conducted a general household survey which shows that 86% of citizens had electricity in 2017.

5. “Nine out of 10 South Africans today… have clean running water.”

- Conclusion: Mostly True

According to Stats SA 88.6% of households had either piped or tap water in 2017.

Isabel Schmidt, chief director of service delivery statistics for the agency, revealed that the figure was most likely rounded up to achieve Ramaphosa's figure.

However, the issue comes in with the reliability of piped water.

“I think particularly if you start looking at consistency and the fact that clean running water is available at all times, I don’t think that [90%] would be correct.”

According to Stats SA 22% of households felt that their water supply did not work properly. 7.3% said their water was not safe to drink. In Mpumalanga 14.3% stated their water was not safe for consumption.

6. “Every day we feed 9 million children.”

- Conclusion: Mostly True

The National School Nutrition Programme is meant to feed pupils in poorer primary and secondary schools once a day.

According to recent report the programme had reached more than 9 million pupils in 2017.

In the same year the department visited over 200 schools to check on the progress of the programme. Out of the schools visited 93% of them had been feeding pupils on the day of the visit.

Schools who were not feeding their pupils on the day had claimed that the food had either been late or hadn't been delivered.

In a 2017 a survey over 8 million students said they were fed every day, while 592 217 said they were fed a few times a week. A million students revealed they did not get food despite being a part of the scheme.

The department of basic education’s National School Nutrition Programme is meant to provide one meal a day to all pupils in poorer primary and secondary schools.

7. “More than 4.3 million South Africans who are living with HIV receive antiretroviral treatment, making it the biggest programme in the whole world.”

- Conclusion: True

According to a Department of Health presentation at parliament over 4 million people were on antiretroviral treatment in the country.

8.“ More South Africans are living longer with average life expectancy increasing to 64 years in 2018 from a low of 53 years in 2005.”

- Conclusion: True

In 2018 life expectancy increased from 54 years ( 2005) to 64.2 years in 2018 according to Stats SA.

This report was written by Africa Check, a non-partisan fact-checking organisation. View the original piece on their website.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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