The South African Police Service recently admitted that hundreds of serving police officers are convicted criminals. The figures are shocking but they fail to reveal the full extent of criminality in the police.
In recent months a South African marketing research company has peppered local media outlets with headline-grabbing releases detailing the findings of their “cellphone” surveys of South African youth. The surveys do not provide true representation of youth opinion across the country yet much media coverage has been unquestioning.
Do 80% of South Africans regularly consult traditional healers? Do most black South Africans choose traditional healers over medical doctors and primary healthcare facilities? The claims are false. And as we discovered, with a little sleuthing, they stem from a book published thirty years ago.
Zimbabweans go to the polls on Wednesday to elect a president and a parliament in an election that many fear will not be free or fair. President Robert Mugabe, leader of Zanu-PF, is seeking to extend his 33-year grip on power. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of Movement for Democratic Change, is hoping to unseat him. What do the two parties stand for? And what do they promise if they win?
South Africa is in the middle of its annual “strike season” which runs from June to September. Frequently the media, government and mining houses refer to “illegal strikes”. Is this accurate? Can a strike be illegal? Not in terms of South Africa’s labour law.
The numbers of people seeking asylum in South Africa have declined dramatically over the last two years. But the country continues to be described as the largest recipient of asylum applicants in the world. How true is the claim? The data is flawed, inaccurate and sharply contradictory.
South African musician Steve Hofmeyr has claimed that the number of white South Africans killed by blacks would fill a soccer stadium, that white Afrikaners are being killed “like flies” and that a white farmer is murdered every five days. But the claims are incorrect and grossly exaggerated. In fact, whites are less likely to be murdered than any other race group.
A number of leading Malawian newspapers and websites have unquestioningly championed a supposed “wonder herb” that supporters claim can cure HIV, Aids and numerous other diseases and ailments. The claims are untrue, irresponsible and should be condemned.
Officials in Cape Town have claimed there are “only 600 bucket toilets in circulation” in the city and everyone has been offered an alternative. Municipal water and sanitation reports show both claims are wrong.
A recent South African newspaper headline suggested that the herbal ingredients of traditional medicines would now be subject to testing. The statement is a misleading example of “churnalism”.