Back to Africa Check

No, former president Jacob Zuma not hospitalised for Covid-19

The weekly newspaper Sunday World reported on 29 December 2020 that former South African president Jacob Zuma had been hospitalised after testing positive for Covid-19. 

The paper posted a link to the article on Twitter, with the tweet: “Jacob Zuma and wife admitted to hospital after contracting Covid-19.”

A second wave of Covid-19 in South Africa in December and into January has seen a major increase in the number of patients hospitalised with the virus. But are the former president and his wife among them?


Zuma in good health, says son

In the article Sunday World claims that according to an anonymous source, Zuma and his first wife, Gertrude Sizakele Khumalo, were receiving treatment at a hospital in Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal province, after testing positive for Covid-19. 

But shortly after the article was published, Zuma’s eldest son, Edward Zuma, released a statement disputing the rumour. The statement was reported on by a number of South African news outlets, including Times Live, News24 and Independent Online

It said: “The former president is well and currently enjoying his festive season with family, and is at home adhering to all regulations announced in March this year. Former president Zuma is well and in good spirits.”

As of 8 January 2021, Sunday World had not updated the original article or issued any sort of correction, despite a number of Twitter users tagging the publication in tweets about the statement from the Zuma family. But there is no evidence that Zuma or Khumalo were hospitalised with Covid-19. – Kashifa Sithole


Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

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

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta'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.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.