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Fuel-saving advice by South Africa’s deputy minister of transport is fake

This article is more than 5 years old

South Africans have seen several increases in the fuel price in the last year. Now a screengrab circulating on Facebook claims the country’s deputy minister of transport, Sindisiwe Chikunga, had strange advice for motorists wanting to save money on fuel.

It says she told a crowd of “thousands” in Limpopo province that “there are proven fuel saving methods that have been used by South Africans for decades”.

“Switching off your lights when driving at night,” was one, as was “turning the engine off while driving and not having passengers in your car”.

The image has been shared more than 6,600 times, and amused many Facebook users. “Tried all these methods, had an accident, car a write off so now I can save petrol. I am now lost for words,” one user joked.  

But the story is fake.

‘It is a lie’

Africa Check called the minister to check if those were her words.

“I’m happy that you are asking me about it,” Chikunga said. She added that she is often confused when people send her the picture.

“I wouldn't have under any circumstances said something like that. It is a lie.”

Debunking website Hoax-Slayer fact-checked the quote in August 2018, tracing it back to an article from a fake news site called “News Updates SA”.

In October 2018, South African news site News24 exposed the individual behind the website.

Their investigation revealed that Chikunga was not the only victim of the site’s fake quotes. In July 2018, News Updates SA quoted “minister of water and sanitation Nkweti” as saying that the colder weather would reduce water demand, as fewer South Africans would want to bath or shower.

But minister Gugile Nkwinti said no such thing.

The fake news website no longer exists but the story about Chikunga is still merrily doing the rounds online.

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