Outrage over weather bill

2012-01-12 14:18
Cape Town - Amendments to the SA Weather Service bill that threaten independent forecasters with fines and imprisonment for issuing severe weather warnings are draconian, the Democratic Alliance said on Thursday.

"[They are] an attempt... to establish and protect an unfair monopoly on services offered by the Weather Service, some of which are commercial services," said DA environmental spokesperson Gareth Morgan.

"The bill, if passed in its current form, will have various undesirable consequences, and will make South Africans less safe," he said.

Against the law

The bill would make it illegal for someone to issue warnings about severe weather or air pollution without written permission from the national weather service.

It would also make it an offence to supply false or misleading information about the weather service, or intentionally or negligently commit an act which negatively affects the organisation.

An aim of the bill was to limit the damage caused by incorrect forecasts about dangerous weather.

First offenders could face up to five years in prison or a R5m fine while subsequent offenders faced a maximum of 10 years' imprisonment or a R10m fine.

The bill would limit the liability of the weather service in any damage, loss or injury caused by its actions under the act.

A new clause would also allow a court to compensate the weather service for any monetary advantage the accused would have gained from a relevant offence.

"Perhaps the Weather Service sees this as a potential new income stream for itself," Morgan said.

‘Clumsy bureaucracy’


He said it was concerning that the bill failed to define a "severe weather event".

It was more concerning that a citizen with vital information about a tornado, for example, would face "clumsy bureaucracy" when applying for written permission to broadcast a warning, he said.

"There is no reason to believe that the Weather Service, with its limited ability to measure and observe weather changes all around South Africa in real time, can respond quickly to all severe weather events, offering affected people sufficient warning."

Morgan called for the offences clause to be removed.

Interested parties could submit written comment on the bill before the end of Thursday.

Public hearings were scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.
- SAPA
Read more on:    da  |  saws  |  legislation  |  weather
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
299 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 40% on outdoor accessories!

Tents, sleeping, day packs and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Month End Madness Sale!

Save up to 60% on across a wide range of goods from books to electronics, DVDs and many more. Sale end 31 January 2015. Shop now!

Valentine’s Day gifts – 14 Feb!

Gifts to spoil him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off fragrances

Get 30% off fragrances for him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off All Textbooks

Save up to 30% off an extensive range of prescribed textbooks for all major universities and FET colleges. Shop Now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a tendency to be too fixed on a set way of doing things today. You may get challenged and the best approach is to keep an...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.