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CHECKED: SA President’s Youth Day claims

South African President Jacob Zuma delivered a speech yesterday to commemorate national Youth Day. Africa Check has teamed up with LiveVIPZA to factcheck his claims.

Researched by Kate Wilkinson and Mina Demian

Yesterday South African President Jacob Zuma delivered a speech in Pretoria to commemorate national Youth Day. Zuma made a number of claims about the country’s youth and government’s interventions to assist them.

Africa Check has teamed up with LiveVIPZA, a South African youth politics platform, to factcheck Zuma’s claims. This report will be updated as we check more of the claims.

School infrastructure

Bomvini Senior Primary School was part of the ASIDI programme. In March 2015 the new school was 98% complete. Photo: Equal Education

Claim: “Government… continues to build modern new schools to replace mud schools and other inappropriate structures.”

Verdict: Yes, but

The Department of Basic Education has been replacing schools declared “inappropriate structures” through the Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI).

ASIDI identified 496 schools made from mud, wooden planks and asbestos that needed to be replaced. According to ASIDI’s targets, 50 schools were meant to be replaced in 2011/12, 100 schools in 2012/13 and 346 schools in 2013/14. All 496 schools should have been replaced by March 2014.

However, ASIDI has failed to meet these targets. On 26 May 2015 the department reported that only 106 out of 496 mud schools had been replaced since the start of the programme.

READHow South Africa’s department of basic education is misleading the public

Science

Claim: “The Americans named a mini-planet after [Siyabulela Xuza] because of his achievements.”

Verdict: Correct

Siyabulela Xuza is a Harvard trained engineer who grew up in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.

Xuza’s project “African Space: Fuelling Africa’s quest to space” was awarded first place and Best in Category in the 2007 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. The NASA-affiliated MIT Lincoln Laboratory renamed a minor planet to “23182 Siyaxuza” in his honour.

Education

Children walking long distance to schools in Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape. Photo: Department of Communications

Children walking school in Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape. Photo: Department of Communications

Claim: “…education continues to receive the biggest chunk of the national budget.”

Verdict: Correct

Education receives the largest slice of the budget pie. The 2014/15 estimated allocation was R265.7 billion. This included basic education, university transfers, skills development, education administration, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme and adult education.

Economic affairs received the next largest allocation with R206.2 billion.

Additional research by Tshego Mphahlele.

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