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There are always grand claims made around election time, and promises of the moon and the stars to voters who back the winning party. The claims and promises often fade into the background after the elections, only to resurface the next time around because nothing much has been done in the years between.
Africa Check delved into the election manifestos of three high-profile political parties – the ANC, the DA and the EFF – to check out their various claims. The EFF, being the new kid on the block, does not have any past performance to compare to.
Read the results of Africa Check’s investigation below:
The African National Congress governs the majority of South Africa’s municipalities. Ahead of the local government election on 3 August, we fact-checked key claims in their manifesto.
Researched by Liesl Pretorius & Lebohang Mojapelo
The African National Congress’ 32-page local government election manifesto is titled Together advancing people’s power in every community: Local government is in your hands. In the foreword, President Jacob Zuma wrote that the “ANC remains best placed, together with the people, to make qualitative change in people’s lives”.
Here are key claims in the manifesto about the ANC’s past performance in local government that we fact-checked. (Note: We aren’t able to fact-check promises but will keep an eye on whether they are fulfilled.)
CLAIM: “The percentage of households that are connected to electricity supply increased from 69.7% in 2001 to 86% in 2014. This amounted to over 5.8 million households in 2014.”
VERDICT: mostly correct.
According to South Africa’s 2001 Census, 69.7% of households used electricity as their main energy source for lighting then. Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) confirmed that this comprised 8 274 455 households at the time.
(Note: Stats SA’s General Household Survey, which only started in 2002, recorded that 77.1% of households – a total of 8 319 918 households – had access to electricity in that year.)
The latest data from Stats SA’s General Household Survey confirms that 86% of households (a total of 13 403 107) in South Africa were connected to electricity supply in 2014. The number is therefore more than double the figure of 5.8-million in the ANC’s manifesto.
What needs to be kept in mind is that the number of households connected does not reflect the quality of the service. The 2014 General Household Survey found that 66.5% of households rated the quality of electricity services as “good”.
CLAIM: “…figures show that 2,048,052 households benefited from indigent support systems for electricity in 2014.”
Indigent refers to “households that qualify to receive some or all basic services for free because they have no income or low income”.
Stats SA’s non-financial census of municipalities for the year ending June 2014 confirmed that 2 048 052 indigent households had received assistance for electricity, out of the 3 482 260 identified indigent households across South Africa.
The recommended amount is 50 kWh per household per month – enough for basic lighting, to power a small black and white TV, a small radio and to do “basic ironing and basic water boiling”, according to the Department of Energy.
However, Earthlife Africa, a non-profit organisation, has argued that 50 kWh is not sufficient and, in 2010, proposed a quantity of 200 kWh.
In 2014/15, 154 municipalities supplied 50 kWh and a further 18 quantities of between 60 kWh and 250 kWh.
CLAIM: “Between 2001 and 2014, the percentage of households with access to piped water increased from 61.3% in 2001 to 90% in 2014.”
The 61.3% in the ANC manifesto seems to indicate only the share of households with piped water in their dwellings (32.3%) and in their yards (29%), as found by South Africa’s 2001 Census.
However, the figure of 90% in 2014 includes communal taps and neighbours’ taps, Stats SA’s General Household Survey shows.
The ANC is therefore not comparing like with like in its manifesto.
Their claim compares the percentage of households with access to piped water in dwelling or on site in 2001 with the percentage of households with access to piped water in dwelling or on siteand communal and neighbours’ taps in 2014. This makes the increase appear much larger.
If the same measures are compared the increases are as follows:
Again, having access to piped water does not reflect the quality of the service. The General Household Survey also found that 61.4% of households nationally rated water-related services as “good” in 2014 – a decline from 76.4% in 2005, the first time this question was included.
CLAIM: “The proportion of households benefiting from free basic water services increased dramatically between 2007 and 2013. Households receiving free basic water services increased from 7 225 287 in 2007 to 11 794 526 in 2013.”
Stats SA says free basic water “is an amount of water determined by government that should be provided free to poor households to meet basic needs”. It is set at six kilolitres a month per household and should be available within 200 metres of where the household lives.
Statistics from the 2007 non-financial census of municipalities show that 7 281 862 consumer units received free basic water services at the time.
A consumer unit is an “entity to which the service is delivered, and which receives one bill if the service is billed”. A block of flats, for example, could represent one consumer unit but multiple households.
This figure reduced to 5 269 475 in 2013 and 4 633 999 in 2014, according to the non-financial census of municipalities – significantly lower than the number contained in the ANC manifesto.
The decrease between 2007 and 2013 is the result of municipalities initially aiming to provide free basic water services to all households, Stats SA media relations officer Madimetja Mashishi explained to Africa Check. However, budget constraints have led them to narrow their goal to only providing for indigent households.
It appears that the figure of 11 794 526 refers to the delivery of water services to all consumer units in 2013, whether paid or free. It has been incorrectly used to indicate the delivery of free basic water services.
CLAIM: “Between 2002 and 2014, the ANC government increased access to basic sanitation services from 62.3% to 79.5%.”
Stats SA’s General Household Survey confirms that the number of households with access to “RDP standard” sanitation services did increase from 62.3% in 2002 to 79.5% in 2014.
RDP standard refers to “flush toilets connected to a public sewerage system or a septic tank, and a pit toilet with a ventilation pipe”.
However, the report highlights the inadequate nature of some of the sanitation services. Problems with “poor lighting” were experienced by a quarter of the households as well as “poor hygiene”, while close to two in ten “felt that their physical safeties were threatened when using the toilet”.
CLAIM: “In 2001, 55.4% of households had access to refuse removal and collection. By 2012, households having access to these services increased by 7.1% to reach 62.5% and further increased to 64% in 2014.”
South Africa’s 2001 Census showed that 55.4% of households had access to refuse removal at least once a week while data from the General Household Survey shows an increase to 64% in 2014, the same as in 2012. (Note: In 2013, it had dropped slightly to 63.5%.)
While the proportion has increased, the report showed that “households in urban areas were much more likely to receive some rubbish removal service than those in rural areas, and rural households were therefore much more likely to rely on their own rubbish dumps”.
A total of 90.5% of households in rural areas discarded refuse themselves. The comparable figure for urban households was 10.7% and 5.1% for metropolitan areas.
CLAIM: “Average life expectancy increased from 53.4 years in 2004 to 62.5 years in 2015.”
Stats SA releases population statistics annually in its mid-year population estimates. The 2015 report confirms that life expectancy has risen from 53.4 years in 2004 to 62.5 years in 2015.
Life expectancy for women (64.3 years) is higher than that for men (60.6 years).
Deputy executive director of the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute, Francois Venter, has previously told Africa Check that the general consensus was that life expectancy in South Africa had been driven up by the rollout of antiretroviral therapy.
CLAIM: “…in 2002, the infant mortality rate was 51.2 babies per 1,000 live births. In 2015, infant mortality rate decreased to 34.4 deaths per 1,000 live births.”
The mid-year population estimates for 2015 confirms a decrease in the infant mortality rate from 51.2 deaths per 1 000 live births in 2002 to 34.4 per 1 000 in 2015. Infants refer to babies younger than one year.
However, according to the Millennium Development Goals “the internationally set target… is a two-thirds reduction in child mortality between 1990 and 2015.”
South Africa’s target therefore was to reduce the infant mortality rate to 18 deaths per 1 000 by 2015, which has not been met.
Dr Neil McKerrow, head of paediatrics and child health in the Department of Health in KwaZulu-Natal, said a number of factors could have contributed to the country’s failure to meet the target, including South Africa’s late response to HIV and poor access to care. The latter does not only refer to geographic access “but the quality of the service and how this discourages mothers returning when they have had a bad previous experience”.
He said South Africa had chosen the right programmes to reduce child mortality “but the coverage and quality of implementation of these programmes is poor”.
McKerrow added: “At national level maternal and child mortality are recognised priorities but at the coalface clinicians and facility managers are faced with the full spectrum of health conditions – not just the priority conditions – and without ring-fenced funds are not able to take from one area to cater for another.”
CLAIM: “Between 2004 and 2014, the EPWP created over 5-million work opportunities for poor and unemployed people.”
In 2009 President Jacob Zuma promised in his 2009 State of the Nation Address to provide four million job opportunities by 2014 through the second phase of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).
A work opportunity refers to any paid work offered to someone on any of the EPWP’s projects. It can run for any period of time. Learnerships are also counted as work opportunities.
The 1-million target for phase 1 of the programme (starting in April 2004 until March 2009) had been exceeded: 1 674 425 opportunities were created.
In the programme’s phase 2 review, it was reported that 4 071 292 work opportunities had been created between April 2009 and March 2014, even though the programme’s target had been 4.5-million.
Therefore, 5.7-million work opportunities were created between 2004 and 2014.
However, as Africa Check has previously explained, someone can be employed on different projects in the programme at different times, with each work period counted as a separate job opportunity. This means that the opportunities do not reflect the number of people who have benefited from the programme.
CLAIM: “Of the target of 6-million between 2014 and 2019, 1.24 million work opportunities were already created by the end of March 2015. This figure surpassed the target of 1.04-million for that period. This is 119% achievement.”
The Expanded Public Works Programme provides temporary work to the unemployed.
In June 2015, the Department of Public Works told Parliament’s portfolio committee on public works that 106% of the programme’s target for 2014/15 had been achieved.
That is 1 103 983 work opportunities by the end of March 2015, against a target of 1 045 520. The achievement was repeated in a September 2015 EPWP newsletter.
However, these do not match the figures recorded in the ANC manifesto – that 1.24-million or 119% had been achieved – a claim that has been repeated on government’s EPWP page.
Kgomotso Mathuloe, the EPWP’s director for communications, could not immediately shed light on the apparent discrepancies in the results for the first year of phase 3, saying that updated figures would be available by the end of the week.
Nevertheless, independent municipal data analyst Michael O’Donovan considers the temporary nature of work opportunities to be “the real problem” of the programme. “Thus participation may be fleeting – the doubling of participants may well be at the cost of halving the average duration of employment.”
The department’s progress report to Parliament noted that the average duration of EPWP work opportunities in the financial year 2014/15 was 87 days.
CLAIM: “Most importantly, the EPWP has surpassed its target of 55% and 40% for women and youth respectively, with 60% of participants being women and 50% being youth.”
The manifesto claims that EPWP targets for both women and the youth had been surpassed. This is true for phase 2 of the project (2009/10 to 2013/14).
However, in the first year of phase 3, the programme failed to achieve the youth target: 51% was achieved against a target of 55%. For women, the target of 55% was surpassed (63%).
CLAIM: “Expanded community works programmes from 45 municipalities in 2011 to 196 in 2015 and increased the number of participants from 100 000 to more than 200 000.”
The Community Work Programme – which falls under the EPWP – aims to provide “a job safety net for unemployed people of working age” by guaranteeing a minimum number of regular work days within a set period. The focus is work that benefits the community.
According to figures supplied by the department of cooperative governance, 45 municipalities participated in the programme in the financial year 2010/11. This number increased to 155 by March 2015.
The department pointed out that it reports in financial years (that runs from April to March) and not calendar years and therefore the 196 in the ANC manifesto might refer to the number of municipalities participating at the end of 2015.
This might also explain why 100 000 participants were claimed for 2011: the number of work opportunities reached 89 689 by March 2011 and was at 105 218 by March 2012.
The “more than 200 000” is correct as far as it refers to work opportunities: the programme had delivered 202 447 such opportunities by March 2015.
However, as noted before, the same person can be employed on different projects and therefore work opportunities and participants are not synonymous.
CLAIM: “We have provided about 3.7-million subsidised housing opportunities and thereby giving a home to about 12.5-million South Africans!”
Data from the Department of Human Settlements shows 3 738 818 “housing opportunities” were created between 1994/95 and 2013/14. This is made up of 2 835 275 completed houses/units and 903 543 completed serviced sites.
Ndivhuwo Wa Ha Mabaya, Human Settlements spokesperson, said full-title RDP houses, rental accommodation, hostel upgrades, and council houses where ownership was granted, as well as serviced sites provided, would be included in the 3.7-million figure.
“For each of these a subsidy is granted, either to upgrade a hostel into a family unit, to build a rental flat in town, to put infrastructure (electricity, water and sewerage) to a stand, and in (the case of) full title, a subsidy for services and the top structure (house).”
Wa Ha Mabaya said both houses and serviced stands are in some cases provided in isolation. For example, when a beneficiary owns the site, government would only provide a house.
Government would provide a stand, without a house, when someone doesn’t qualify for a house or decides to build their own house instead of waiting for government to build it for them. (Note: It is therefore incorrect to say that the ANC government gave people a home when a quarter of the subsidised housing opportunities were in the form of serviced states.)
When a stand and a house are delivered at the same time, they are counted as a house – and not as a stand and a house.
According to the department’s 20-year review, approximately 12.5-million people received “access to accommodation and a fixed asset” as a result of the provision of the 3.7-million houses and serviced sites.
Wa Ha Mabaya said that if one multiplies the number of housing opportunities with the average family size in South Africa “you will see the answer” as to how many people benefited. He suggested that more than 12.5-million people may have benefited.
That is true if the number of housing opportunities is multiplied by the household size from the 2001 Census (3.8), giving 14.2-million people, and also if the figure from the 2011 Census is used (3.6, as supplied by Stats SA), which gives 13.5-million people.
Marie Huchzermeyer, professor at Wits University’s school of architecture and planning, told Africa Check that while “no one disputes the general overall number of ‘housing opportunities’” an uncritical celebration of numbers should be avoided.
“This form of housing has placed enormous servicing burdens on municipalities, contributed to the further spatial fragmentation of South African towns and cities, have required ongoing expenditure on transport subsidies and have not met the vision of human settlements,” she said.
CLAIM: “Upgraded 95 000 households in informal settlements.”
The Department of Human Settlements’ most recent annual report shows that 74 017 households in informal settlements were “upgraded with improved housing conditions” in 2014/15. This means that individual informal households are provided with basic services, such as water supply, electricity and sanitation.
The number fell short of its annual target of 150 000 households.
However, the target of 400 000 for the period May 2010 to April 2014 had been exceeded: 447 780 such households were upgraded in those five years.
In the latest five-year period for which figures are available, the 95,000 in the ANC manifesto was exceeded within a single year in both 2012/13 (141 973) and 2011/12 (100 000). The figure for 2013/14 was 71 766.
The 95 000 in the manifesto is therefore significantly lower than the number of reported upgraded households over the last five years.
CLAIM: “The ANC government initiated investigations into 203 corruption cases involving 1,065 persons. A total of 234 government officials were convicted for corruption related offences since 2014.”
The National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) chief director of communications, Bulelwa Makeke, confirmed these figures to Africa Check, saying that they were drawn from their annual report for 2015/16.
This report will only be available to the public at the end of August 2016.
However, conviction rates are a poor measure of success in the fight against corruption as they only reflects cases taken to court and not the true extent of corrupt officials.
The head of the governance, crime and justice division at the Institute for Security Studies, Gareth Newham, told Africa Check the statistics cited suggest that very few government officials are being convicted for corruption.
CLAIM: “Freezing orders to the value of R601-million were obtained by the end of the third quarter of the 2015/16 financial year. This means that government has recovered a total of R4.21-billion since 2009.”
A freezing order is a court order in an investigation that “ensures that the money/assets involved are not accessible to the owner until all the relevant legal processes/litigation have been completed,” the NPA’s Bulelwa Makeke told Africa Check.
After a successful investigation or prosecution, the money that is recovered by the state from the freezing orders is referred to as the value of “completed forfeitures”, she added.
Makeke confirmed that the state had recovered R4.21-billion since 2009 in completed forfeitures. As mentioned earlier, this could not be independently verified as the NPA has not released its latest report covering 2015/16.
The NPA’s 2009/10 annual report shows that R185-million was recovered in that year. According to the NPA’s 2014/15 annual report over R2.7-billion was recovered between 2010/11 and 2014/15.
This adds up to R2.9-billion that has been recovered since 2009, with no official figures yet released for 2015/16. It would need to total R1.3-billion to square with the manifesto claim.
According to a parliamentary reply, however, only R45.4-million had been achieved by February 2016.
The Democratic Alliance has its sight set on taking several municipalities from the African National Congress in South Africa’s upcoming local government election. Ahead of the election on 3 August, we weigh up key claims in their manifesto.
Researched by Kate Wilkinson, Vinayak Bhardwaj & Masutane Modjadji
The Democratic Alliance (DA), South Africa’s official opposition party, governs 26 municipalities in South Africa. They are aiming to add municipalities like Nelson Mandela Bay, Tshwane and Tlokwe to the list in the upcoming local government election.
Their 68-page manifesto is titled Change that moves South Africa forward again. In the first pages, DA leader Mmusi Maimane spells out the DA’s vision for local government saying that “this document does not only make promises of a better future, it illustrates the progress we have already made in the municipalities we currently govern”.
Here we evaluate key claims in the DA’s manifesto about their past performance in local government. (Note: We aren’t able to fact-check promises but will keep an eye on whether they are fulfilled.)
CLAIM: “More than 8.2-million South Africans do not have a job.”
When the DA launched their manifesto on 23 April 2016, the latest available data on unemployment in South Africa was from July to September 2015.
That data showed that 5 418 000 people were unemployed then, according to the narrow definition. These people are unemployed but tried to find a job in the last four weeks. The latest data, from January to March 2016, shows that the number has risen to 5 714 000.
The expanded definition of unemployment includes discouraged job-seekers. These are people who want to work but are not actively trying to find employment. According to the expanded definition, there were 8 304 000 unemployed people in South Africa in July to September 2015. This figure rose to 8 927 000 in the first quarter of 2016.
CLAIM: “Estimates by the City [of Cape Town] found that 161,000 individuals, or 11.3% of the total workforce in Cape Town, were employed by the informal economy in 2015.”
The estimates of the number of Capetonians working in the informal economy were included in a report on Economic Performance Indicators for Cape Town for the second quarter of 2015, the DA told Africa Check.
The informal employment sector, as measured by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), includes people informally employed, as well as people working in the formal sector or private households, but without a written contract or benefits such as medical aid or pension fund contributions.
The DA’s claim is correct for the second quarter of 2015, Stats SA’s quarterly labour force survey shows.
Source: Stats SA quarterly labour force survey (Jan-March 2016)
But the size of Cape Town’s informal sector employment as a proportion of total employment is low relative to other metropolitan municipalities in South Africa, Professor Dieter von Fintel of Stellenbosch University’s economic department, told Africa Check.
Von Fintel said that only Tshwane’s proportion was lower than Cape Town’s. In turn, South Africa has a comparatively low informal sector share when compared to many developing countries.
CLAIM: “Midvaal [has] the lowest unemployment rate in Gauteng.”
The DA said their claim is based on 2011 census data, which showed that the Midvaal local municipality’s unemployment rate was then at 18.8%. Compared to the 3 metropolitan municipalities and 6 other local municipalities in the Gauteng province, Midvaal had the lowest unemployment figures in 2011.
In 2001, the year after the DA first won Midvaal’s local government election, census data shows that the unemployment rate was 22.8%.
CLAIM: “Since 2011, the City of Cape Town has created more than 140 000 temporary work opportunities for unemployed South Africans through [the Expanded Public Works Programme].”
In support of the claim, DA spokesperson Phumzile van Damme pointed Africa Check to a City of Cape Town media release from July 2015. It stated that “since 2011, the City of Cape Town has created more than 140 000 temporary work opportunities for unemployed residents through this programme”.
This is backed up by the City of Cape Town’s annual reports, in which they reported creating 140 324 work opportunities between 2011/12 and 2014/15.
(Note: As Africa Check has previously explained, the number of opportunities does not correspond to the number of people who have benefited from the programme. Someone can be employed on different projects in the programme at different times with each work period counted as a separate job opportunity.)
Source: City of Cape Town annual reports
CLAIM: The City of Cape Town’s “rate of unemployment” was 20.5% in 2013/14. This was lower than three other “major metros”, including the City of Tshwane (23.4%), Nelson Mandela Bay (30.6%) and the City of Johannesburg (27.9%).
The DA’s research unit told Africa Check that “upon closer inspection we found that the heading for the unemployment figures that appear in the bar graph on page 13 of the manifesto is incorrect”.
The unemployment data they cited was actually for October to December 2015. That year the City of Cape Town’s narrow unemployment rate was 20.5% as claimed. However, the metropolitan municipality with the lowest unemployment rate was eThekwini at 15.9%.
Source: Quarterly Labour Force Survey Quarter 4: 2015
Comparable unemployment data at metropolitan municipality level has only been released in Quarterly Labour Force Surveys since the beginning 2015. Prior to that, it was only available every ten years in the census.The DA referred to the incorrect information as a “formatting error” and said it was “deeply regretted”.
The latest data, from January to March 2016, shows that the City of Cape Town’s unemployment rate had increased to 21.1%. The metropolitan municipality with the lowest unemployment rate was again eThekwini at 18.8%.
Data provided by the City of Cape Town shows that the figure of 67% refers to what they call the “service delivery budget”
CLAIM: “In the 2014/15 financial year, the City of Cape Town spent 67% of its budget in poor communities.”
The “service delivery budget” includes the line departments City Health, Human Settlements, Safety and Security and Social and Early Childhood Development. It also includes parts of the budgets of other departments, such as Community Services, Transport and Utility Services.
A number of departments are not included in the city’s calculations. These include Compliance and Auxiliary Services, Corporate Services, Energy, Environment and Spatial Planning, Finance, Rates and Other and Tourism Events and Economic Development.
If the city’s figure of investment in poor areas and informal settlements (R17 504 774 569) is calculated as a percentage of the total latest publicly available 2014/15 budget (R35 458 835 000), the portion the city says it invested drops to 49.4%.
Read our report for a detailed explanation.
CLAIM: “DA-run governments are recognised as among the best in South Africa by national government and a variety of other agencies.”
The DA told Africa Check that they base this claim on three different evaluations:
The Dullah Omar Institute publishes an annual Municipal Audit Consistency Barometer in which they categorise a municipality according to the audit outcome it most often achieved over the past 5 years, in this case over the period 2008/9 to 2013/4. There are five possible audit outcomes, listed here from best to worst:
According to the DA, it governs in 26 municipalities across four provinces: Gauteng and the Northern, Eastern and Western Cape. The Dullah Omar Institute’s report shows the DA mostly scored clean (unqualified with no findings) and unqualified opinions with findings between 2008/9 and 2013/4:
The Auditor-General’s report for 2014/15 on the outcome of municipal audits, released in June, showed that 21 DA-run municipalities achieved a clean audit, 3 an unqualified with findings opinion and 2 a qualified with findings opinion.
But the Auditor-General’s reports speak to financial governance and not necessarily all aspects of service delivery, Karen Heese, an economist at research organisation Municipal IQ, told Africa Check.
Independent consultant to national and local governments Dr Andrew Siddle explained to Africa Check that the Auditor-General’s reports show “three things only: the soundness of financial reporting, [a municipality’s] legislative compliance, and the soundness of its reporting on performance management”.
When a municipality gets a “clean” report, it means that it has passed the test for all three of these elements – “nothing more, nothing less”.
Nonetheless, “if a municipality passes the ‘clean’ test, then it may logically claim to be doing some things right, and that can be justifiably be interpreted as a reflection on its approach to governance”, Siddle added. As such, Auditor-General reports “should be and are taken seriously”.
Government Performance Index
As for the Government Performance Index, the DA told Africa Check that it shows that “12 out of the 20 best run municipalities in the country are governed by the DA, with 9 of them in the top 10. Good Governance Africa ranked the country’s 234 local and metropolitan municipalities according to 15 different criteria across three spheres of performance: administration, economic development and service delivery.”
Africa Check verified the DA’s standing in the index. However, Heese cautioned against relying too much on the Government Performance Index as its measure of a municipality’s performance is based on limited information.
Africa Check was unable to verify the DA’s claims about the Municipal Financial Stability Index produced by Ratings Afrika. Analyst Charl Kocks said the data broken down by municipality was “proprietary” and we need to buy the report at a cost of R100 000 to access that.
However, Kocks did confirm that the average score for the Western Cape was 60 out of 100 and that it was the highest scoring province in the country, as the DA claimed. However, he could not tell us how many of the 22 DA-run municipalities in the Western Cape were included in the index.
Kocks explained that their ratings were based on municipalities complying with their requests for various categories of information. Whether or not all of the 30 municipalities in the Western Cape complied is unknown.
CLAIM: “The City of Cape Town has repealed over 300 [apartheid-era policies, structure plans, bylaws and other procedures].”
The DA manifesto promises that the party will create “a regulatory business environment that promotes growth and innovation”.
One of the ways it says it will do so is by repealing “apartheid-era policies, structure plans, bylaws and other procedures which contradict our commitment to freedom and fairness and which pose barriers to economic development and job-creating growth”. In the City of Cape Town, the DA claimed it had already repealed “over 300 such policies”.
The first document the DA sent us contained only 261 such policies. The list included policies from post-1994 – such as the “Goodwood Policy on the erection of Wendy houses” (1997) and “Fencing guidelines for N1 City, Goodwood” (2001).
In response, the DA said: “We do not believe the text suggests that the structure plans, bylaws and other procedures are all apartheid-era; indeed, a cursory look at the list should show that the policies, structure plans, bylaws and other procedures from the democratic era have also been repealed.”
The party then forwarded us a document listing an additional 75 policies, structure plans and frameworks as proof.
CLAIM: “The City of Cape Town runs six facilities dedicated to providing treatment for alcohol and drug addiction.”
The DA claims in its manifesto that the City of Cape Town runs treatment centres “in accordance with the Matrix Model of treatment” in Delft South, Khayelitsha, Manenberg, Milnerton, Parkwood and Tafelsig. A leaflet provided to Africa Check explains that the Matrix Model is an intensive outpatient treatment programme developed in the US.
Africa Check called the centres on the list and confirmed that they offer Matrix Model treatment. However, the international Matrix Institute on Addictions lists only two of the centres as officially accredited on its website.
CLAIM: “The DA is making great strides compared to other metros in the country – as of February 2015, Nelson Mandela Bay had 50,000 outstanding title deeds”
The DA pointed us to a February 2015 parliamentary reply by the ministry of human settlements as proof.
It showed that the Nelson Mandela Bay metro had by far the most title deeds yet to issue, followed by the City of Cape Town.
The figure has since changed.
Nelson Mandela Bay’s municipal manager, Mthubanzi Mniki, told Africa Check only 15 339 title deeds were outstanding as of 30 April 2016. Of these, 1 473 were for pre-1994 housing stock and 13 866 for post-1994 stock.
The information is not yet publicly available, though.
CLAIM: “…the Drakenstein municipality managed to reduce annual water losses from 34.8% to 12.1% in little over a decade. The campaign also showcases how DA local governments can reverse the decline of a municipality by identifying problems and taking proactive steps to address them.”
The Drakenstein municipality is located in the Western Cape and comprises the towns of Paarl and Wellington.
Van Damme told Africa Check that the figures cited were supplied by the municipality. She provided a booklet which stated that “water losses in the Drakenstein municipality were an unacceptable 34% in 1999… Through a coordinated programme of action, the municipality reduced the water losses to 12.1% by 2013.”
The municipality was however only formed in December 2000 when the Paarl and Wellington municipalities were amalgamated.
Drakenstein municipality spokesman, Mart-Marié Haasbroek, told Africa Check that the figures shared by the DA were from the town of Paarl, located in the Drakenstein municipality. They could not be attributed to the municipality as a whole.
“Before 2012, the statistics for the other towns in Drakenstein were estimated and are therefore less reliable and reflects more erratically. Data for Paarl has always been accurately measured,” said Haasbroek.
The Economic Freedom Fighters are contesting their first local government election in South Africa. Ahead of the election on 3 August, we evaluate key promises in their manifesto.
Researched by Kate Wilkinson & Masutane Modjadji
South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters party is contesting a local government election for the first time in 2016, having only been registered as a political party in September 2013.
The EFF’s local government election manifesto is titled Our last hope for jobs and service delivery. Like the African National Congress’ manifesto, the EFF’s is also 32 pages long but unlike the ANC, they do not have previous local government performance to highlight.
EFF president Julius Malema says that their manifesto “is different from the rest because its success will primarily be gauged by the number of jobs the municipality will create and the number of lives that would have been improved”.
Here we evaluate whether the EFF will be able to keep key promises, based on current laws. We sent questions to the party asking for clarity on how they were planning on implementing their promises. At the time of publishing this report we had not received a response.
(Note: Last week we examined the ANC’s election manifesto and next week we fact-check the Democratic Alliance’s manifesto.)
Promise: “The EFF People’s Municipality will pass by-laws which will expropriate and allocate land equitably to all residents of the municipality for residential, recreational, industrial, religious, and agricultural purposes and activities with the principle of use it or lose it.”
Our verdict: If the public works minister delegates power to a municipality and adequate compensation is paid.
Municipalities are allowed to pass by-laws which the public is allowed to review and comment on. But this power doesn’t extend to expropriation.
“The EFF’s election promise mentions the passing of municipal expropriation by-laws, which is superfluous and irrelevant,” said Benjamin Cousins, emeritus professor at the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies of the University of the Western Cape.
Cousins said that South Africa’s impending Expropriation Act “does allow for the [minister of public works] to delegate powers of expropriation to another organ of state, including a municipality, which then becomes an ‘expropriating authority’”.
But the land cannot be expropriated arbitrarily, according to Bulelwa Mabasa, a director at Werksmans Attorneys specialising in expropriation litigation.
“Land cannot be expropriated simply because it is not being used. There must be a legitimate public purpose or public interest,” Mabasa explained.
The EFF’s promise would also require an enormous amount of money to implement. Local government expert Andrew Siddle told Africa Check that the EFF’s promise was not financially feasible unless the expropriation was on a “no or only partial compensation basis”.
The act, in its current form, requires that the amount of compensation paid to the owner of the expropriated land or property be “just and equitable”. It must reflect “an equitable balance between the public interest and the interests of the expropriated owner”.
The South African Constitution requires that this compensation be based on a number of factors, including the current use of the property and its market value.
Promise: “The EFF’s People Municipality will ensure that all schools under its jurisdiction have running water, sanitation and refuse removal.”
Our verdict: It is already a municipal function.
Under the South African constitution it is the function of local government to provide running water and sanitation “not just for schools, but for all residents,” Siddle told Africa Check.
But according to the Department of Basic Education’s National Education Infrastructure Management System, there were 604 schools without access to water in South Africa in 2014. The majority were in the Eastern Cape (339) and KwaZulu-Natal (183).
There were 474 schools without sanitation facilities in the country in 2014. Again, the majority were in the Eastern Cape (366) and KwaZulu-Natal (66).
Promise: “The EFF’s People Municipality will abolish all forms of informal settlements and dwellings and provide adequate human settlements for all.”
Our verdict: If the provincial government grants enough funding.
An informal dwelling is a “makeshift structure not erected according to approved architectural plans”, as defined by Statistics South Africa. This includes shacks in informal settlements or in backyards.
According to the 2014 General Household Survey, 12.9% of South Africa’s 15.6-million households lived in informal dwellings.
Local government expert Andrew Siddle told Africa Check that upgrading informal housing was already a “long-term goal” for South Africa as a whole and questioned how the EFF would fund it.
“It should be remembered that under current legislation and framework, housing is primarily a national and provincial responsibility, with local government having limited powers,” he added.
According to South Africa’s Housing Act, municipalities are responsible for progressively providing housing in their area and identifying and designating land for housing and ensuring that water, sanitation, electricity, roads, storm water drainage and transport are provided.
Robert Cameron, professor at the University of Cape Town’s political science department, told Africa Check that the promise was feasible but would require funding.
“They could abolish informal settlements but would have to apply to the provincial housing boards for money,” Cameron said.
Promise: “The EFF’s People Municipality will make sure that each and every household within its municipality has [a] flushing toilet, which will be connected to the municipal sewage system and/or to clean, safe and durable septic tanks.”
Our verdict: If each household has water in their yard.
“Government policy is to provide sanitation to all but it still relies to a large extent on ventilated improved pit toilets and there is still a long way to go in certain provinces,” Andrew Siddle told Africa Check. “[The] only new thing from EFF is that all toilets [will] be flushing.”
Stats SA defines adequate sanitation as “flush toilets connected to a public sewerage system or a septic tank” or “a pit toilet with a ventilation pipe”. In 2014, 79.5% of households had access to this level of sanitation.
A guide to service delivery levels by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs highlights that “sanitation service levels need to be planned in conjunction with the availability of water resources and supply”.
For example, a household accessing water through communal taps cannot have a flush toilet installed. The basic level of sanitation that can be provided in this scenario is a pit toilet with a ventilation pipe.
A household must have a roof tank or a yard tap with a toilet connection in order to have a flush toilet connected to a septic tank. A flush toilet connected to the municipal sewage system requires a fully metered and pressurised household water connection.
Because of these limitations, the provision of flush toilets would also require the provision of on-site water for households. In 2004 an estimated 46.3% of households had piped water in their dwellings and 27% has access to water on their property.
Promise: “The EFF’s People Municipality will ensure that there is 100% electrification of every household in the municipality within the [sic] 5 years of being in government.”
Our verdict: Informal settlements, migration and rural areas pose an impediment.
South Africa’s Department of Energy defines “universal access” as 97% of households being electrified. It notes that “full electrification is unlikely to be possible due to growth and delays in the process of formalising informal settlements”.
Robert Cameron, professor at the University of Cape Town’s political science department, described the EFF’s promise as “laudable” but difficult to achieve.
“The problem in the big cities is in-migration. As soon as municipalities have provided services to some informal settlements, there are new migrants coming in requiring services,” he said.
The extent of the housing backlog and the ease of connecting households in isolated areas is also an impediment to universal electrification.
“Given that the [housing] backlog in municipalities is not a uniform proportion everywhere, and some municipal areas include deep rural regions, the feasibility of practical 100% electrification of every household is approximately zero,” Trevor Gaunt, emeritus professor at the University of Cape Town’s electrical engineering department, told Africa Check.
In 2014, Stats SA reported that 86% of households were connected to mains electricity.
Promise: “The EFF’s People Municipality will provide free basic electricity and [water] to the poor.”
Our verdict: Registered poor households should receive free basic services from municipalities.
Poor (indigent) households that register with municipalities qualify to receive free basic water and electricity because they receive no income or have a low income.
Statistics SA’s non-financial census of municipalities for the year ending June 2014 reported that 237 out of 278 municipalities had indigent support policies.
In 2014, 2 048 052 of South Africa’s poor households (58.8%) received free basic electricity.
The department of energy recommends 50kWh per household per month be supplied free. This is enough to power basic lighting, a small black and white TV, a small radio and to do “basic ironing and basic water boiling”, according to the Department of Energy.
That same year 2 460 135 poor households (70.7%) received free basic water. This is set at 6 kilolitres a month per household and should be available within 200 metres of the household.
Some households that are not registered as poor also receive free basic services, depending on the municipality they are in.
In 2014, the following proportion of consumer units (which is a billing unit, not a household)received free basic services:
These figures include the indigent households mentioned above.
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