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Does South Africa’s Democratic Alliance really deliver? We assess their claims

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In the run-up to South Africa’s May 7 election, the Democratic Alliance has been pushing out a steady stream of “fast-facts” and statistics highlighting its performance in Cape Town and the Western Cape. This is the first of two reports evaluating key claims.

Researched by Kate Wilkinson

This report has been updated to include a response from the Democratic Alliance's communications director, Gavin Davis. We have published it below the report.

In February 2014, Africa Check published a column which questioned the sourcing of various pre-election claims being made on Twitter by South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance (DA).

The DA’s then social media manager, Alex Molteno, said the party strives to ensure that any claims its makes are accurate and added that if Africa Check “finds that any of these statistics are inaccurate, we will gladly rectify them.”

Many of the DA’s claims relate to its performance in the Western Cape, the only province in the country that is not held by the governing African National Congress. This report – the first of two on the DA – evaluates a number of key claims made by the party on Twitter using the hashtag #DADelivers.

It forms part of a series of fact-checks of leading political parties and politicians to be published by Africa Check in the run-up to the elections on May 7 2014.

“In the 2nd half of 2012/13, the WC Provincial Govt. created 60,000 work opportunities via the Expanded Public Works Projects. #DAdelivers”

The DA’s former social media manager, Alex Molteno, said the claim was based on the Expanded Public Works Programme’s second quarterly report for 2012/13.  But according to that report,  68,044 work opportunities were created in the Western Cape in the first half of 2012/13, not the second half as stated in the DA’s tweet.

If the claim was based on the first half of the year, then it understated performance.

The third and fourth quarterly reports – which cover the second half of the year – have yet to be released and it is unclear how many work opportunities were created then.

“@DA_News municipalities have created 31,000 job opportunities in the past year. #DAdelivers”

A screen grab of some of the Democratic Alliance's claims on TwitterThis claim appears to have first been tweeted by Gavin Davis, the DA’s communications director, on 1 March 2013. It was then recycled by the DA which tweeted it on several different dates including 18 September, 2 October, 18 November and 30 December 2013. The claim was also included in the party’s 2014 election manifesto, which was launched in February 2014.

It is therefore unclear whether the claim refers to a calendar year, a financial year or a specific 12 month period. If it was the latter, then – given the fact that the tweet was used on several different dates – which 12 month period did it refer to?

According to the DA, the claim is supported by the Expanded Public Works Programme’s  second quarterly report for 2012/13.  But that report states that 18,104 work opportunities were created in Western Cape district and metropolitan municipalities between 1 April 2012 and 30 September 2013. A further 7,491 work opportunities were created during the same period in Western Cape local municipalities. Add them together and you get a total of 25, 595.

“W Cape has best delivery record in SA: 99.1% of households access piped water, 93.4% electricity & 96.9% have toilet facilities. #DAdelivers”

According to the DA, the claim is supported by data collected during South Africa’s 2011 national census.

The census found that 99.1% of households in the Western Cape had access to piped water. Just behind the Western Cape was Gauteng province, where 98.2% of households were found to have had access to piped water.

According to the census, 93.4% of Western Cape households used electricity for lighting, compared to 91.1% in the Free State and 87.4% in Gauteng.

However, when it came to accessing toilets, the Western Cape slipped from first place. According to the census, 98.9% of Gauteng households had access to a toilet. In the Western Cape 96.9% of households had access to toilets.

(An earlier Africa Check report evaluated similar claims about water access made by the national government.)

“The City of Cape Town delivers more to poor residents than any other city in the country. #DAdelivers”

The DA says the claim is supported by a 2011 report on household access to basic services which was compiled by the national government’s Department of Co-operative Government and Traditional Affairs.

The report, which in fact used data from 2009, ranked the City of Cape Town first in the country for providing services to households. It stated that 90% of households there had achieved basic service levels and 88% had achieved higher service levels.

It’s important to note that the report referred to “the levels of household access to basic service” throughout the city and did not refer specifically to poor residents.

Andre Bothma, the DA’s marketing director,  told Africa Check that the claim was also supported by the City of Cape Town’s Mid-Year Review (2011-2013) which stated that “[t]he City of Cape Town has the best record of any metro in the country for providing basic services, and providing financial relief to the poor”.

However, the review provided no evidence or data to support the claim and it is unclear how it arrived at its conclusion that the city had the “best record of any metro in the country”.

The 2012 non-financial census of municipalities revealed that the Western Cape has the highest percentage of households in the country receiving free basic water, electricity and sewerage and sanitation.

“The [South African] gap between the ‘haves’ & the ‘havenots’ is smallest in City of Cape Town. It has the highest level of equality in SA. #DAdelivers”

A general view of the city of Cape Town from the top of Table Mountain. Photo: AFP/Gianluigi GuerciaThe DA based the claim on the 2010/2011 State of the World’s Cities report produced by UN-Habitat, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme.

The report, which used the Gini coefficient to compare inequality between cities, suggested that East London and Johannesburg were some of the most unequal cities in the world. While Cape Town was found to have high levels of inequality by world standards, it was found to be the least unequal of the South African cities examined for the report.  Of the South African cities analysed, Cape Town had the lowest Gini coefficient at 0.67 while East London and Johannesburg had the highest Gini coefficients at 0.75.

The 2012/2013 State of the World’s Cities report found that Cape Town was a more broadly prosperous city than Johannesburg, the only other South African city examined.

“Of the R18 billion spent on service delivery in the City of Cape Town, R11billion is spent on the poor communities. #DAdelivers”

Andre Bothma, the DA’s marketing director, said the claim was based on a 2012 City of Cape Town expenditure analysis. He told Africa Check the document is not publicly available. (This contradicts a statement by Molteno, the DA’s former social media manager, who told us that the DA keeps a database of “DA delivery facts, each accompanied by a reference to a source for it that is publicly available”.)

Bothma also referred us to a September 2012 speech by Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille in which the claim was made. But De Lille made no reference to the source of the claim.

Her spokesman, Solly Malatsi, said the claim was taken from the  City of Cape Town’s 2012/13 budget using “data analytics models”.

“Using the basis of service delivery departments as the quantum of focus, we then tabulate expenditure patterns using a ward analysis of geographical income distributions in the City matched against a formula of total spending amounts to arrive at the percentage-based figure,” he explained.

Africa Check has been unable to independently verify the accuracy of claim.

“80% of the R2 billion spent by the Western Cape Government on tenders during 2012/2013 was paid to #BEEbusinesses. #DAdelivers”

The DA says the claim is based on a Western Cape government analysis of expenditure.The analysis states that ‘[i]n the 2012/13 financial year, the majority of tenders over R100 000 were awarded to BEE firms. In total, bids worth R1.6 billion went to BEE firms”. This amounts to 80% of the total.

“65% of the Western Cape Govt’s senior management are previously disadvantaged South Africans. #DAdelivers”

Leader of South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance political party Helen ZIlle addresses a press conference in Johannesburg on February 3, 2014. Photo: AFP/Marco LongariThe DA claims that the tweet was sourced from the 2013 “Western Cape Human Resource Database”. Bothma told Africa Check that the database was not publicly accessible.

When asked if there were other documents that supported the claim, Bothma directed us to a Times LIVE article and a City Press article in which the Western Cape premier and DA leader, Helen Zille, claimed that “77 percent of our 50,521 senior employees fell within the designated ‘black group’”. No source for that claim was provided.

We have been unable to independently verify the accuracy of the claim.

“76% of the Western Cape Government’s budget is redistributed to poor communities. #DAdelivers”

Bothma referred Africa Check to a presentation compiled by Western Cape Premier Helen Zille’s office on provincial ‘expenditure on the poor’.

However, the source provided does not support the claim.

The presentation, delivered by Helen Zille in August 2012, claims that an analysis of a representative sample of departments revealed that 76% of their budgets were redistributed to poor communities. Only the departments of health, education, human settlements, social development and cultural affairs and sport were considered in the analysis. Expenditure in eight other provincial departments was not analysed.

“8 of the top 10 South African municipalities in the Municipal IQ’s Productivity Index are governed by @DA_News. #DAdelivers”

This claim has been tweeted a number of times since November 2013 and is said to have been taken from Municipal IQ’s 2013 Productivity Index. Municipal IQ is an independent data service that monitors and assesses South Africa municipalities.

The claim is not strictly correct (though it is close) as the index shows that six of the ten top-performing local municipalities are run by the DA and one is run by a DA-Cope coalition.

“In its first four years in government, the DA-governed City of Cape Town tripled the number of houses delivered per year. #DAdelivers”

The DA said that the claim was sourced from the Cape Town Story, a booklet published by the DA in March 2011. It claimed that “the post-2006 City government has built three times the number of houses its predecessor managed”.

Frouwien Bosman, a DA policy researcher, told Africa Check that the claim was based on comparing the average number of houses delivered under the ANC to the number delivered under the DA in 2008/09 and 2009/10.

In 2003/04, 2004/05 and 2005/06, the last three years the ANC ran the City of Cape Town, an average of 3,287 housing opportunities were provided, according to the city’s annual reports. Under the DA , 9,576 housing opportunities were delivered in the city in 2008/09 and 8,950 housing opportunities were delivered in 2009/10.

In 2010/11 and 2011/12, the number of housing opportunities delivered dropped to 7,472 and 7,141 respectively.

“The W Cape Govt spends R33.6mil on its Premier’s Advancement of Youth Project & its youth wage subsidy programme every year. #DADelivers”

Democratic Alliance (DA) party leader, Helen Zille, marches to the headquarters of the Congress of South African Trade Unions in Johannesburg. Photo: AFP/Alexander JoeBothma told Africa Check that the “youth wage subsidy programme” that the tweet refers to is the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism’s “Work and Skills Programme”. Bronwynne Jooste, a spokesperson for the Western Cape provincial minister of finance, economic development and tourism, Alan Winde, told Africa Check that R10-million was spent each year on the programme in 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2011/12. Expenditure decreased to R8.9-million in 2012/13 and R13.4-million was spent on the programme in 2013/14.

Jooste couldn’t provide a document or an audit to support the figures. She said that the Work and Skills Programme’s expenditure was not accounted for separately in the department’s financial statements and was included under the broader category of “workforce development”.

The Premier’s Advancement of Youth Project started in 2012/13. Zak Mbhele, Zille’s spokesman in her capacity as Premier,  told Africa Check that R23,1-million is spent every year on the Premier’s Advancement of Youth Project. This, he said, was based on paying 750 interns R2,400 per month for 12 months. An annual amount of R1,5-million is also allocated for administrative costs.

But Mbhele was unable to provide documentation to support the figure.  “…[T]he remuneration expenditure on the [Premier’s Advancement of Youth Project] is part and parcel of personnel costs across all departments and is not reflected in a separate, collated document,” he explained via email.

If the figures provided by Jooste and Mbhele are correct, it would appear that a combined total of R32-million was spent in 2012/13 financial year and  a further R36.5 million in 2013/14. These figures are close to, but not in line with, the R33.6-million per year that the DA’s claim refers to. It is unclear how the DA calculated that figure.

Edited by Julian Rademeyer

 

Related Reports

Is the DA’s Western Cape Story a “good story to tell”?

Claim that no-one in Cape Town has to use bucket toilets is wrong

Zille right to say that the Cape Town rich-poor divide is the narrowest in SA

 

Related Blog

Where does the Democratic Alliance get its facts? By Ray Joseph

The DA really does deliver, writes Gavin Davis, the Democratic Alliance's director of communications in his response to our report...

As part of its social media strategy, the @DA_News Twitter account uses the #DAdelivers hashtag to showcase the DA’s delivery record in government. These tweets draw on the work of various research units in the party, publicly available information and feedback from DA-led governments.

In its recent report on the #DAdelivers campaign, Africa Check asks the question: “Does the Democratic Alliance really deliver?” Despite setting up the question, Africa Check stops short of providing a conclusive answer.

This is unfortunate because Africa Check’s assessment finds that the DA does in fact deliver – even if it does not always agree with the precise numbers or interpretation used.

What follows is the DA’s response to the Africa Check report. Our assessment of the twelve tweets analysed is that:

  • One tweet (10) slightly overstated the DA’s performance as it was based on outdated information. This will be rectified going forward.
  • Four of the tweets (1, 2, 8 and 12) understated the DA’s performance. This will be rectified going forward.
  • Africa Check could not independently verify the claims made by the Western Cape government and City of Cape Town in tweets 6, 7 and 9 (and thus could not dispute them either).
  • Two of the tweets disputed by Africa Check (3 and 4) are open to interpretation.
  • Africa Check did not dispute the claims made in tweets 5 and 11.

The intention of this response is to shed further light on the DA’s claims in the interests of accuracy and fairness. Like Africa Check, the DA takes accuracy very seriously and we will gladly rectify any mistakes pointed out to us.

Tweet 1: “In the 2nd half of 2012/13, the WC Provincial Govt. created 60,000 work opportunities via the Expanded Public Works Projects”.

In our response to initial questions from Africa Check, we acknowledged that the numbers did in fact refer to the figures as by the end of the second quarter of 2012/13 (i.e. the first and second quarters added together). So, this should have read: “In the first half of 2012/13…” We will rectify this typographical error going forward.

As Africa Check acknowledges, the DA actually understated its own performance in reference to these figures, since 68,044 work opportunities were created in the first half of that year.

The DA now has in its possession the numbers for the full year from the Department of Public Works (see link). It shows that 109 482 EPWP work opportunities were created in the Western Cape in the 2012/13 financial year.

Tweet 2: “@DA_News municipalities have created 31,000 job opportunities in the past year.”

This was first mentioned in a press statement by DA National Spokesperson Mmusi Maimane (see link) in March 2013. It was based on an internal analysis by the DA’s monitoring and evaluation unit for the financial year 2012/13.

Africa Check looks at the EPWP second quarterly report for 2012/13 to conclude that 25,595 work opportunities were created in that six month period (as opposed to 31,000 for the entire year).

The National Department of Public Works’ full year report for the period 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013 shows that DA-run municipalities in fact created 45,321 EPWP opportunities in that year. Cape Town alone created 33,101 such work opportunities.

The full EPWP report can be viewed here. A full list of DA municipalities and the work opportunities created in each is available here.

Again, this #DAdelivers tweet understated the DA’s performance. This will be rectified going forward.

Tweet 3: “W Cape has best service delivery record in SA: 99.1% of households have access to piped water, 93.4% electricity and 96.9% have toilet facilities.”

The Africa Check report confirms the Census 2011 figures on access to piped water, electricity and toilets and that, on two out of three of these measures, the Western Cape delivery is the best in the country.

When it comes to access to sanitation, the Western Cape is in second place behind Gauteng overall, although this does not take into account the quality of sanitation. For example, the Western Cape has the highest access to flush toilets at 85%, compared with Gauteng in second place at 83%.

We stand by the claim that the 2011 census shows that, overall, the Western Cape has the best record when it comes to delivery of basic services.

Tweet 4: “The City of Cape Town delivers more to poor residents than any other city in the country.”

Africa Check agrees that the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs ranked Cape Town number one in the country for providing basic services to households (see link).

Africa Check argues that the report does not specifically refer to poor residents. However, since high income households – by definition – have access to basic services, it can be assumed that poor households benefit most from living in a metro that has the best rate of basic service delivery in the country. We therefore stand by this claim.

Tweet 5: “The [South African] gap between the ‘haves’ & the ‘have nots’ is smallest in the City of Cape Town. It has the highest level of equality in SA.”

Africa Check confirms that, according to the United Nations World Cities Report of 2011/12, Cape Town is in fact the least unequal of the major South African cities.  Of the South African cities analysed, Cape Town had the lowest Gini coefficient at 0.67 while East London and Johannesburg had the highest Gini coefficients at 0.75.

Tweet 6: “Of the R18 billion spent on service delivery in the City of Cape Town, R11 billion is spent on poor communities”.

This claim was made in a speech by Cape Town Mayor, Patricia de Lille in September 2012 (see link), in which she said: “…of the R18 billion City budget spent on direct service delivery, just under R11 billion is spent on poor people.”

According to the City of Cape Town, the numbers were calculated following an analysis of expenditure patterns by ward. Africa Check has been unable to verify the accuracy of the claim. If Africa Check does find that the statistic is inaccurate, the DA will rectify its communication accordingly.

Tweet 7: “80% of the R2 billion spent by the Western Cape on tenders during 2012/13 was paid to #BEEbusinesses”.

As noted by Africa Check, the claim above is based on figures provided by the Western Cape Provincial Treasury. Africa Check does not dispute its accuracy.

Tweet 8: “65% of Western Cape Govt’s senior management are previously disadvantaged South Africans”.

Provincial government employment is not static. The latest available employment equity figures provided by the Western Cape Provincial Government (see link) state that 77% of senior employees in the Western Cape Government fall within the designated “black group”.

It therefore appears that the DA understated the percentage of disadvantaged South Africans in senior management in the Western Cape. We shall ensure that the latest statistic is used going forward.

Tweet 9: “76% of the Western Cape government’s budget is redistributed to poor communities”.

Africa Check argues that the report provided to substantiate this claim (see link) does not present the full picture because only five departments (health, education, human settlements, social development and cultural affairs and sport) were analysed.

As Western Cape Premier Helen Zille noted in the press release that accompanied the original report, these are the five “big-spending” provincial departments in the Western Cape government with a collective expenditure of R24.7 billion in that financial year. We believe this sample is more than adequate and stand by the claim. If Africa Check can present evidence to the contrary, then we will rectify our communication going forward.

Tweet 10: “8 of the top 10 South African municipalities in the Municipal IQ’s Productivity Index are governed by @DA_News”.

This tweet was based on a report by Municipal IQ (see link) which showed that, In 2011, 8 out of the top ten local municipalities in South Africa were governed by the DA.

As Africa Check points out, in 2012 and 2013, the DA was in government in 7 out of the top 10 local municipalities in the country. This figure is still high enough to support the broader point that DA municipalities deliver. Nevertheless, we will ensure that we use the latest statistic in our communication going forward.

Tweet 11: “In its first four years in government, the DA-governed City of Cape Town tripled the number of houses delivered per year”.

According to Africa Check, the average number of housing opportunities delivered by the ANC in their last three years in government in the City of Cape Town was 3,287. If we use figures from the 2007/08 City of Cape Town Annual Report (see link) to assess the ANC’s housing delivery in the City of Cape Town between 2003/4 and 2005/6, its average housing delivery is even lower – at only 2,745 per year.

By 2008/09, the City of Cape Town under DA government delivered 9,576 housing opportunities. In 2009/10 (after the DA’s “first four years of government”), the City of Cape Town delivered 8,950 housing opportunities.

In other words, the evidence supports the claim that the DA more than tripled the average annual housing delivery in its first four years in government in Cape Town.

Tweet 12: “The W Cape Govt spends R33.6 mil on its Premier’s Advancement of Youth Project & its youth wage subsidy programme every year”.

As Africa Check points out, the figure for the 2013/14 financial year is R36.5 million, not R33.6 million. The DA will rectify this understatement in its communication going forward.

© Copyright Africa Check 2014. You may reproduce this report or content from it for the purpose of reporting and/or discussing news and current events, subject to providing a credit to "Africa Check a non-partisan organisation which promotes accuracy in public debate and the media. Twitter @AfricaCheck and www.africacheck.org".

Comment on this report

Comments 9
  1. By Danie van Heerden

    To whom it may concern!!
    That the DA claims to deliver is hogwash!
    They are actually just like the NP with a helluva bark and no bite!
    I write letters and receive no answers from persons responsible!
    I guess it is just another white elephant as this mail will also not be answered!!

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  2. By Themba Mahlangu

    This makes quite an interesting read.

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  3. By Thomas

    Fact check in this article, like the DA throws figures and facts without Interrogating them. When the DA says:

    “W Cape has best delivery record in SA: 99.1% of households access piped water, 93.4% electricity & 96.9% have toilet facilities. #DAdelivers”

    What does this actually mean. Does it mean that after taking over from the ANC, the DA has delivered 99.1% piped water to households? If not, how then does the DA deliver?

    If the people of Freestate for example have 80% access to clean drinking water this year while in 1994 had only 58% while in the Western Cape 99.1% have access to clean drinking water now and had 95% in 1994, then who is delivering?

    Where is the real analysis of the DA claims. Here I see none if any.

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  4. By Liz

    This article was quite illuminating but I would like to see more articles on other parties and their claims – namely the ANC. In the interest of an informed public I think we don’t only need to check one party’s story but all parties that make claims.

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    • By Africa Check

      Thanks Liz. This is the first in a series of articles fact-checking claims by major political parties and politicians in the run-up to the May 7 election. We will most certainly be fact-checking claims by the ANC.

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  5. By Kyle

    This article doesn’t seem to grasp the distinction between municipal and provincial government. For example, so what if 7 of the 8 top Municipal IQ ratings are in the Western Cape? The DA has majorities in municipalities in other provinces as well. Similarly, why is the claim that stresses housing delivery under the DA-led City being evaluated on the basis of provincial government statistics?

    More importantly, the article falls short of evaluating the real thrust of these claims – that DA administrations are better than ANC ones. Today’s relative inequality of Cape Town is not of interest to this – we should be asking whether inequality has improved under the DA and worsened elsewhere under the ANC? Or has the DA just inherited a relatively less unequal province from the ANC and is now claiming a historical fact as if it is their creation?

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    • By Africa Check

      Thanks Kyle. We have amended both sections for clarity.

      The DA’s claim referred to the “top 10” municipalities listed in the Municipal IQ Index. The DA municipalities that made the “top 10” list are all in the Western Cape. Six of them are run by a DA majority and one is run by a DA-COPE coalition. The three other municipalities remaining on the list (Steve Tshwete, Merafong City and Gamagara) are run by the ANC.

      With regard to housing delivery in Cape Town, we incorrectly referred to the Western Cape when we should have referred to the City of Cape Town. We have corrected that.

      We did not use provincial government statistics. The documents we linked to were annual reports for the City of Cape Town.

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  6. By Michael Dreyer

    While I am sure the DA in the Western Cape has much to feel good about,what I do not understand is why they are prepared to terminate service delivery and more specifically in the areas of Sewer and Drainage activities?This we know to be fact as we as service providers are now having to deal with these cut backs on a daily basis,people are losing their jobs,and we are told that this set back is not temporary but in all likelihood permanent.This cannot be good for the rein and it’s people.

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