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No, South Africa deputy minister of transport hasn’t given inane petrol-saving advice

Fuel prices have rocketed across the world in 2022 and South Africans have also been hard-hit at the petrol pump.

In this climate, it’s not surprising that people are looking for tips on how to save money – and might be quick to anger at useless advice.

This seems to be the case with a quote attributed to South African deputy minister of transport, suggesting that “there are proven fuel saving methods that have been used by South Africans for decades, like ‘Switching your lights off when driving at night.’”

The quote was shared on Facebook on 22 March. In 48 hours it reached 134,600 views and was reposted more than 1,300 times. 

But did minister Lydia Sindisiwe Chikunga say such a silly and downright dangerous thing?

MinisterQuote_Fake

Debunked by Africa Check in 2019

If our alarm bells were ringing, we soon remembered why. There is no evidence Chikunga made this statement, as Africa Check debunked in 2019. 

A number of Facebook users pointed this out in the comment section in March 2022, linking to our fact-check of the quote.

The exact same graphic was being shared on Facebook in May 2019, and we reached out to the minister then. She was happy to set the record straight.

“I’m happy that you are asking me about it,” Chikunga said. “I wouldn't have under any circumstances said something like that. It is a lie.”

The fake quote appears to have originated with the now-defunct fake news site “News Updates SA”.

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

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Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

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Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

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