Climate change to blame for extreme weather - Cabinet

Cape Town - The extreme weather experienced in various regions in the country this month is a direct result of climate change, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe says.

Radebe held a post-Cabinet meeting press briefing in Parliament on Thursday and called on all South Africans to be cautious following storm conditions in Gauteng.

"The impact of climate change is being felt through the severe weather conditions in the form of inconsistent rainfall, drought conditions, excessive heat and flash flooding," Radebe said.

"The flash floods in Gauteng and Mpumalanga resulted in the loss of lives, displaced communities, especially in informal areas, and destroyed infrastructure such as roads, bridges and property."

Cabinet conveyed its condolences to the families and friends of those who died in the flooding and those recovering from injury.

Radebe warned citizens from falling into a false sense of security following the rains as a drought continues in various parts of the country.

Fees protests, racial tensions

Radebe said Cabinet was also pleased that students at universities have responded positively to calls to salvage what is left of the academic year.

He asked that students allow the Commission on Inquiry into Higher Education and Training to finish its work. This is expected to be around June 2017.

Cabinet was also concerned about what it viewed as the incitement of racial tensions and violence by public figures.

Radebe said the country must condemn utterances that "detract from our hard-won freedom".

He was speaking in reference to some politicians' reactions to the assault of Victor Mlotshwa, who was beaten and placed into a coffin by Theo Jackson and Willem Oosthuizen in Middelburg in August.

South Africans must condemn the unconstitutional calls to illegally occupy land, he said.

Radebe also said substantial progress was being made in the redistribution of land in rural areas with 54 400 hectares of land having been acquired and allocated to smallholder producers, farm dwellers and labourers and 2553 people having benefited from 57 land claims in rural areas.

The Commission on Restitution of Land Rights has paid out close to R1bn in compensation from April to October 2016.

Cabinet also congratulated US President-elect Donald Trump following his election victory last week.

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