Fact check: Unraveling Cyril Ramaphosa's SONA 2019 promises

Fact check: Unraveling Cyril Ramaphosa's SONA 2019 promises

- While he made many ambitious promises in his speech, the majority of the president's claims appear to be factual

- These include his comments about the improved matric pass rate and numbers of students entering tertiary education

- However, some of his claims did not check out, such as his assertion that only one million children were participating in early development facilities

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Cyril Ramaphosa made a number of sweeping claims and ambitious promises in his SONA speech and, for the most part, the response was positive.

Among other pledges, the president vowed to boost the economy, overhaul ESKOM and established a Scorpions-like unit to take on corruption.

But how accurate were his claims? Here is the 2019 SONA, fact-checked.

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As part of his report on South Africa's progress with regard to education, Ramaphosa claimed that the matric pass rate was at 75.1 percent, up from 60 percent 10 years ago. According to Africa Check, this statement is true. 

Likewise, the president asserted that almost one million students were enrolled in higher education, Briefly.co.za gathered.

He said this was double what the number had been in 1994. This claim also checks out. Records show that there were roughly 500 000 students studying in higher education institutions 25 years ago, while the 2015 audit on higher education enrollment put the figure at close to 900 000.

However, some of the president's statements do not appear to be wholly accurate. For example, he said that one million children were enrolled in childhood development facilities.

While accurate data on this topic is hard to come by, according to economics researcher Martin Gustafsson, this number is likely closer to 2.5 million. 

READ ALSO: Juju uses social media during #SONA2019: “The real president of SA”

Additionally, Ramaphosa claimed that the government employed one million people.

This claim is also false. According to a study done by Wits University, the actual number is around 1.3 million, but the study also showed that this figure was leveling off and likely dropping. 

Nevertheless, the majority of Ramaphosa's statements appeared to be factual.

In this way and many others, the 2019 SONA marked a break with the speeches that had preceded it under former president Jacob Zuma.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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