A recent article published by a South African newspaper made a series of claims about the medical use of dates, the fruit of the date palm. In the first of series on health reporting and quackery, we examine the perils of peddling false information.
Johannesburg is well known for its splendid trees but does this make it the world’s largest man-made forest as many claim? Unfortunately not. After checking with dictionaries, experts and satellite images, we find it is an urban myth. Read why.
Do 400,000 whites live in squatter camps in South Africa, as claimed in a recent BBC report. Are there really 80 “white squatter camps” dotted around Pretoria? The answer to both is no.
In his State of the Nation address earlier this year, South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma, promised that a total of 98 new schools would be completed by the end of March 2013. The promise was false.
The South African government’s claim that it will establish 58 dedicated sexual offences courts, to be fully operational by September this year, appears to be untrue. No budget has been announced and there appears to be no clear framework for how the courts will operate.
The BBC has reported that Cape Town has committed “millions of US dollars” to test the “world’s first environmentally friendly barrier shark net”, following five shark attacks in the Western Cape province over the past year. The report was wrong.
The leader of South Africa’s Democratic Alliance, Helen Zille, has claimed that most of the party’s membership is “black”. But the DA’s membership records are secret and the evidence is anecdotal.
Do more than 94% of South Africans really have access to clean and safe drinking water? Water and Environment minister Edna Molewa has said they do. The claim is exaggerated.
South Africa’s police minister told parliament last week that civil damages claims totalling R7.1 billion were laid against the South African Police Service in the 2011 to 2012 financial year. In fact the closing balance of civil claims in March 2012 was more than twice that.
South Africa, a recent press release said, is “one of only twelve countries in the world where it is safe to drink…tap water” and the “quality of South African tap water is ranked third best overall”. The claim was widely reported. It is not true.