News24

Confusion over draft weather bill

2012-01-24 16:38

Cape Town - A clause in the draft SA Weather Service amendment bill creates the impression that it is a crime to issue any severe weather warning, the environmental affairs portfolio committee heard on Tuesday.

"In the debate in the last three weeks, it has become quite clear that the use of the wording that is used in this [section 30A] clause [1] seems to be far too open-ended," the environmental department's chief director of air quality management, Peter Lukey said.

He said the clause, which prohibits anyone from issuing a severe weather warning without permission from the weather service, could create the wrong impression.

"In actual fact what is happening here is that we are criminalising the actual act of issuing a warning, rather than looking at what we were really concerned about, which was the intention of it all. If a warning was issued, in the interest of the public, then that is important for us."

Lukey told the committee - currently holding public hearings on the bill - the focus should be on acts undermining the public interest.

False, misleading information


False, misleading weather information could result in panic, injury, shops and schools closing, mobilising emergency services, and evacuation.

Committee chairperson Johnny de Lange agreed there was a need for the weather service to be the only authentic voice, while conceding that citizens could not be stopped from using their voices.

De Lange said the wording of the bill should perhaps be revised to focus on the potential impact of a false weather warning.

Lukey said a definition of the term "severe weather" should be considered as it had created confusion.

When the bill was first drafted, the dictionary definition of severe had been considered adequate, he said.

The committee should also remove the term "air pollution-related" from the clause, as it was erroneously included.

Lukey said the bill was meant to encourage people to speak to the weather service and disseminate their information through the agency.

"It's really important that people start communicating with our weather service," he said.

Comments
  • Hermann - 2012-01-24 16:46

    Here the weather forecast and warnings for today and tomorrow . No comment.

      Squeegee - 2012-01-24 17:08

      The Bill was really intended to give certain people a monopoly. People finally figured out how to make money out of the weather.

      jannie.beirowski - 2012-01-24 17:10

      I may be uninformed, but am not aware of the need for such a bill. I am not aware of any problems with false alarms being raised in the past, nor of any damage caused by such false alarms. What has created the need for such a bill? Why don't they just declare weather information to be protected the so-called inteligence or information act and save all the money of doing another act.

      Squeegee - 2012-01-24 20:27

      Its actually a "daft" weather Bill.

  • xbrynx - 2012-01-24 16:49

    The problem is that the bill made it this far before they were able to see the mistakes in it. Surely when you have someone drafting a bill, you have someone who is able to draft it in unambiguous English and without erroneous inclusions. They shouldn't need public outrage before they can see mistakes in it. Don't they proof read or think?

      Shirley - 2012-01-24 17:41

      You are not REALY asking are you?? Afterall one requires a brain first-then one can think! The teachers were probably on strike when they attended reading classes.

  • Ashwin - 2012-01-24 17:03

    hehehe. I agree. Most of the weather forecasts are so wrong already. A high pressure here with a low pressure there resulting in 80% thunderstorms. Result - Nothing happens. Can we sue the weather station for incorrect reporting?

  • lindz.kok - 2012-01-24 17:06

    idiotic that they see it fit to waiste time and money on such rubish while the county is sufecating under crime coruption and like this bill miss management.

  • JudithNkwe - 2012-01-24 17:10

    The DEA should pay all the people who did extensive research to give input on this shambles. We should all be the ones who now draft it correctly to save them further embarrassment!

  • JudithNkwe - 2012-01-24 17:10

    Paluka of the month award goes to ....................

  • Henri James Christie - 2012-01-24 17:14

    Utter bulls@¥t, weather predictions are a science based on past and present atmospheric trends. It is expected conditions, warnings are based on these.

      Kent - 2012-01-24 17:35

      @Henri James Christie. I get weather warnings on my cell phone for the Gauteng area. If they say thunderstorms in the afternoon I am prewarned and if it does not happen I am not disipointed but was only prewarned to be careful. Nice service. SA Weather Service does not warn me I would need to see this in the news and I never look at the prediction because they hardly are right. And at 19:30 on Etv to late for my drive home from the office.

  • mystae - 2012-01-24 17:17

    I've read the news everyday for more than a year, and NEVER have there been any reports of false weather causing any kind of panic. WE DO NOT NEED THIS BILL. Maybe they should rather focus their efforts on providing more accurate weather information.

  • Mike - 2012-01-24 17:35

    As I remember CNN was showing live footage of the bombing of Iraq. It's going to be interesting when these muppets take on the international NEWS channels.

  • Shirley - 2012-01-24 17:38

    Realy anc are there not more important things you should be addressing like crime,corruption and the likes??? Stop tring to play God and do something constructive for a change!

  • Brad.Kopping - 2012-01-24 17:42

    maybe the cANCer should focus more on rooting out corruption and giving people in poverty jobs and homes like they were promised instead of worrying about the weather.

  • Heinrich - 2012-01-24 17:51

    If they can't even get the draft weather bill right, how are they going to manage with the whirlwind, the cyclone, the tornado,and the other heavy winds legislation? Windgatte these ANC cadres. I think these Camelot laws are very romantic. The snow may never slush up on the hillside By 8pm the moonlight MUST appear... The winter is forbidden till December July and August CANNOT be too hot... And there's a legal limit to the snow here...

  • David - 2012-01-24 18:06

    Just to be safe and not anger the weather gods, here are better phrases for 'severe weather' Tornado = breezy weather Deadly heat wave = toasty weather Flash floods = a bit of moisture in the air Sub-zero snowstorms = nippy weather 2 year nuclear winter = a slight cold spell

  • Desmond - 2012-01-24 19:22

    "It's really important that people start communicating with our weather service," so they can make money from us by just by passing on the information.

  • berni.venter - 2012-01-24 21:00

    So wonderful to see our tax monies being spent on such important legislature... makes me feel all partly cloudy with 99% percent chance of thunderstorms!

  • Bob - 2012-01-24 22:17

    “He said the clause, which prohibits anyone from issuing a severe weather warning without permission from the weather service” CRAP…! This is just a move to oust competing weather forecast services from stating these warnings thereby forcing everyone wanting to know extended weather forecasts to have to use the official “South African Weather Service (SAWS)” ….http://www.weathersa.co.za - Which just so happens to be a frigging PAY service if you want extended forecast information including ADERSE WEATHER ALERTS. This is a just move to force you to pay a monthly subscription of R40-00 up to R180-00 per month to get extended weather reporting, which competing weather services will not be allowed to provide you ad hock in terms of the new bill…! Another way to rape the SA people by making them pay for a service that should be free in the first place..! Shame on you South African Government…you are morally bankrupt!

  • Johan - 2012-01-25 07:21

    Why do I get the feeling that the SA population is slowly being boxed in by this draft bill,reregistration of fire arms,FICA,Rica,Protection of Information bill etc ?

  • Henri James Christie - 2012-01-25 07:30

    Kent, agreed. My point is that this service is in the interests of safety and should the warning not materialise, no damage done. Should the weather warning happen, well, forewarned is forearmed.

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