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Lindiwe Sisulu cherry-picks housing stats (again)

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South Africa's public service and administration minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, in a 2005 file photograph. Photo: AFP/Rodger BoschSouth Africa's new Human Settlements minister, Lindiwe Sisulu,  has claimed that the delivery of houses to the poor in the Western Cape has fallen by more than a quarter since the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) took control of the province in 2009.

Speaking on 18 June 2014 in the country's parliament during a debate on President Jacob Zuma's post-election State of the Nation address, Sisulu claimed that housing delivery in the Western Cape had dropped by 30%.

It is not the first time she has made such a claim. In February 2014, during the debate on Zuma's pre-election State of the Nation address, Sisulu claimed: “The delivery of housing in the Western Cape [has] dropped by 25% since the DA took over. Statistics are there to show.”

Sisulu’s spokesman Ndivhuwo Mabaya told Africa Check at the time that she was comparing the average number of houses delivered each year by the African National Congress-led provincial government from 1994 to 2008 with the average number of houses delivered by the Democratic Alliance since it wrested control of the province from the ANC in 2009.

Historical data of provincial housing delivery from 1994 up until the 2012/2013 financial year, which was provided to Africa Check by the Department of Human Settlements,  appears to support Sisulu's claim. An average of 17,925 houses were delivered each year in the Western Cape between 1994 and 2008.  Delivery has dropped to an average of 13,518 houses per year since the DA took charge of the province in 2009. This amounts to a decrease of around 24.5%.

But the statistics also show decreases in ANC-controlled provinces, which Sisulu chose not to mention. Over the same timeframe, housing delivery has dropped by 12.1% in the Eastern Cape, 15.7% in the Free State, and 11.9% in KwaZulu-Natal. In Gauteng and Mpumalanga, housing delivery has fallen by 31% and 27.7% respectively.

Provinces where housing delivery has increased since 2009 include Limpopo (43.8%), the Northern Cape (28.6%) and North West (22.8%).

While Sisulu’s claims were correct, it was misleading of her to cherry-pick the data to highlight the decrease in the Western Cape while ignoring decreases in ANC-controlled provinces. – Africa Check 19/06/14

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