FACT CHECK: Is South Africa Providing Free Paternity Tests Starting In June?

Hannah Hudnall | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims all South African hospitals and clinics will offer free paternity tests starting June 2022.

Verdict: False

There is no evidence the South African Department of Health announced such a plan. A spokesperson for the department denied the claim.

Fact Check:

A Facebook post from January 2022 claims paternity tests will be free at all medical centers in South Africa starting later this year. “From June 2022 DNA test/Partenity (sic) tests will be free in all hospitals and clinics in South Africa,” reads the post.

There is no evidence that such a policy has been announced. No mention of free DNA or paternity tests can be found on the South African government’s website or on the South African Department of Health’s website. There is likewise no credible news reporting about such a development.

“Fake news,” said Foster Mohale, the director of media relations at South Africa’s National Health Department, said in an email to Check Your Fact. (RELATED: Did The South African Prime Minister Deny The Existence Of The Omicron Variant?)

The earliest mention of this claim was published by a Twitter user on Jan. 24. The tweet, which was retweeted nearly 500 times, reads “DNA tests will b conducted freely @ Government hospital n clinics as from June 2022..Ayeye!!!!!!” The user doesn’t specify in the tweet which country’s government made the alleged announcement, but the user’s bio claims the account is based in Pretoria, South Africa.

A version of the claim was subsequently shared on Facebook by a South African Police Service (SAPS) parody account on Jan. 26. The post, shared nearly 100 times, reads “DNA Tests Will Be done For Free At Public Hospitals And Public Clinics As From June 2022.” The account’s bio includes a disclaimer that states the account is “Unofficial” and “Just for fun.”

Hannah Hudnall

Fact Check Reporter

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