11 February 2016

South Africa: Did Zuma Get His #SONA2016 Facts Straight?

Photo: GCIS
President Jacob Zuma and Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete arrive at Parliament for State of the Nation Address in the joint sitting of the house in Parliament, Cape Town.

South African President Jacob Zuma delivered his ninth State of the Nation address. Africa Check is fact checking the claims he made on health, energy, finance and water.

South African President Jacob Zuma delivered his ninth State of the Nation address on 11 February. We are in the process of fact-checking a number of claims he made. Check back for updates.


Claim: "To curb water wastage, the Department of Water and Sanitation has begun its programme of training 15,000 young people as artisans."

Our verdict: Correct

The department of water and sanitation launched their "War on Leaks" project in August 2015.

Phase 1, to be completed in the 2015/16 financial year, will train 3,000 artisans, plumbers and water agents. (A water agent educates the public on how to use water wisely and manage water resources.)

An additional 5,000 people will begin training in the 2016/17 financial year (phase 2) and 7,000 will begin training in 2017/18 (phase 3).

Spokesman for the department, Mlimandlela Ndamase, told Africa Check that 2,897 people were receiving training as of 25 January this year. This included 1,573 artisans, 243 plumbers and 1,081 water agents.

However, the artisans and plumbers need 3 years of training before they will be able to start working while the water agents can begin work after 10 months of training. - Kate Wilkinson


Claim: "The multiple bid windows of the Renewable Independent Power Producer Programme have attracted an investment of R194 billion."

Our verdict: Broadly correct

Following the rolling black-outs South Africa experienced in 2008 government invited independent power producers to sell electricity to the country's power supplier, Eskom.

According to a September 2015 report by the department of energy, government has so far procured 6,327 MW from independent power producers. At the end of June 2015, 1,860 MW had come online.

The investments pledged totalled R192.6 billion. - Anim van Wyk

Life expectancy

Claim: "... life expectancy of South Africans for both males and females has significantly improved and is currently 62 years across genders, which is an increase of eight and a half years since 2005."

Our verdict: Broadly correct

Life expectancy for both men and women was estimated at 62.5 years in 2015 according to Statistics South Africa's mid-year population estimates.

This is an increase of nine years since 2005, when life expectancy was 53.5 years.

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