Several posts doing the rounds on Facebook in June 2022 claim that KwaZulu-Natal’s provincial transport minister, Peggy Nkonyeni, is in hospital after being in an accident caused by potholes.
The posts include three photos, one of large water-filled potholes in a tarred road, and two of a badly damaged black BMW.
One tweet reads: “KZN Transport MEC Peggy Nkonyeni in hospital due to car crash caused by potholes … ngesiZulu kuthiwa ‘umkhonto ugwaze ekhaya’.”
The last sentence in isiZulu translates to “in Zulu it is said that ‘a spear pierces the home’”. It seems to be pointing out the irony that the government official responsible for road maintenance was affected by poor road conditions.
Other Facebook posts claim that the accident was caused by a burst tyre.
So what’s the truth here? We checked.
Accident probably due to burst tyre
Peggy Nkonyeni has served as the KwaZulu-Natal member of the executive council (MEC, or provincial minister) for transport, community safety and liaison since March 2019.
A quick Google search for “Peggy Nkonyeni accident” brought up several news articles about the car accident. But while most reported it was because of a burst tyre, the cause of the burst tyre wasn’t clear.
According to local broadcaster eNCA, “Nkonyeni and her bodyguards were travelling from uLundi earlier today, when the car burst a tyre”.
The town of uLundi is in the Zululand district municipality.
Nkonyeni was on her way to launch a youth empowerment programme, reported TimesLive, and the accident took place on provincial route the R66.
It was reported that Nkonyeni received treatment in hospital after the accident, according to eNCA.
The accident was reported by numerous trusted local media outlets, none of whom said the burst tyre was caused by going over a pothole.
While acknowledging that there was a “pothole problem” in many parts of the province, a spokesperson for the KwaZulu-Natal department of transport, Thuba Vilani, said the cause of the MEC’s accident hadn’t been established.
Vilani told Independent Online: “On the accident, I cannot comment because we are waiting on the investigation. All we know was that the car had a tyre burst.”
Stock image of potholes
At least two media outlets published the photos of the black BMW when reporting on the MEC’s accident.
But a TinEye reverse image search of the photo of the potholes revealed it was a generic stock image and not linked to the accident.
The image can be found on the stock image websites of Adobe, Shutterstock and Depositphotos.
This might be a clue that the claims on Facebook aren’t true.
The available evidence only shows that Peggy Nkonyeni’s accident was as a result of a burst tyre. There’s no evidence for what caused the burst tyre – potholes, or something else.
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