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.

  • Gerhard - 2012-01-12 14:26

    And now we are trying to legislate the weather? It is currently raining outside. Oh damn, I have just committed and offence! I better leave the country before they catch me.

      rynhardt.ferreira - 2012-01-12 14:30

      Agreed, this country is a joke. Run by a bunch of clowns!! This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard!!!

      Pieter - 2012-01-12 14:35

      No Gerhard its just another attempt to hide their incompentancy just like the information protection bill.

      Repline - 2012-01-12 14:43

      I see where this bill is leading (tongue in cheek), you will need to pay a R50.00 "toll" fee if you would like to find out if it is going to be sunny, rainy or if a tornado/tidal wave is going to hit you.

      RSole - 2012-01-12 14:54

      They should use the same logic and prosecute politicians who make false claims and promises. Now that would get my support.

      TJ - 2012-01-12 14:58

      We live in a small town in surrounded by mountians. Even the local radio station does not include our weather in it's weather forcasts. Our weather is different to the ciries and towns in the area because of the mountain ranges and forests. So, if we get a severe snowstorm in winter, does that mean others can't be warned of it? We get a lot of very misty mornings and normally send traffic warnings through to the radio station. Would this be illegal? At the moment it is VERY hot and we are getting thunder storms and heavy rain falls even though the sun is still shining. Would it be illegal to share this information and warning to others coming into the area? Most of the roads around here are mud so can very very slippery when wet. Oops, did I break the law?

      Squeegee - 2012-01-12 15:04

      Follow the money. Who has the tenders or who is making money out of the commercial side, etc...?

      rbphiri - 2012-01-12 15:09

      What's next? regulating how much the human fart contributes to global warming by approximately 2.3%

      Zama - 2012-01-12 15:25

      Instead of creating a bill to save our rhinos, they come up with such nonsense!

      TJ - 2012-01-12 15:38

      Okay, severe weather warning coming up - We are having our third thunder storm for the afternoon and heavy rains. Just had a few small hail stones too. It is still very hot and humid and MUDDY. The electricity keeps going off and on. Did I just break the law again? Oops. Maybe if this dumb law comes into effect, EVERYONE should post weather reports daily from their regions. I would like to see the government try to monitor that and prosecute everyone.

      Kevin - 2012-01-12 15:38

      Talk about a nanny state! The overpaid halfwits who infest the benches of Parliament should be fired. They are oxygen thieves! They are trying to make it an offence for people to warn their fellow human beings that their lives may be in danger because of inclement weather. It remains to be seen if it passes muster in the constitutional court.

      Arthur - 2012-01-12 15:40

      I with the DA on this one, This is the same with people making hoax bomb threats. false information could lead to disaters.At least the law states that you should run it past weathersa.

      david.streicher - 2012-01-12 15:42

      If you happen to find yourself in Joburg at the moment, wear an umbrella. This is not a weather report.

      eric.vanvuuren - 2012-01-12 15:51

      There was no democratic vote on this matter so just vipe your ars on it, they can't go on like this. Making laws with no regard to the rights of the SA public. Just because you can screw someone over does not mean you should. I’m waiting for the day we all unite and say no more.

      Edward - 2012-01-12 15:55

      Live in the US near Washington DC. On monday they predicted 8c with Sunshine was going to go golfing (that's pretty good winter weather in DC) it never got above 3c and snowed all afternoon. On Tues. they predicted 13c and it never got above 6c. Maybe we have the same bill here and I didn't know about it and the weather people are afraid to predict what really is going to happen for fear the FBI will haul them away to jail.

      Anthony - 2012-01-12 15:57

      hey it,s raining down the right side of my leg, zuma do you need a shower

      nasheenar - 2012-01-12 16:00

      Oh that was classic Gerhard....LOL!

      helgardt - 2012-01-12 16:12

      It took Saps, The Hawks and Interpol a week to catch an overweight killer in Limpopo while he was shopping under their noses. I would think u r quite safe, mate.

      winston.mullany - 2012-01-12 16:13

      RPhiri, wanna pull my finger:-)

      rbphiri - 2012-01-12 16:31

      lol Winston we do not want more gaseous exhange

      George - 2012-01-12 16:38

      Next no more traffic reports. Do these clowns all share the same 1(one) brain cell

      StirMonger - 2012-01-12 16:56

      Toy soldiers trying protect us !!!!!

      heather.moller1 - 2012-01-12 17:25

      What did you expect? Our country is run by illiterate fools. Everything that is not under their control is seen as a threat. Slowly, but surely we will need their permission to pass urine. What a joke this once beautiful country of ours have become. That is why I sent my son to the UK. He is a white male, you do the math on his chances of ever amounting to anything in this country. Now he is an asset to another Country.

      John - 2012-01-12 17:45

      I just come across this definition: Julle mense wat dink julle weet alles, maak ons mense wat alles weet die bliksem in!

      Thomas - 2012-01-13 00:42

      It's a case of we can't do the job, but we will fine you if you correct us!!!!!!!!!!!

      Chrono - 2012-01-13 09:18

      I think this is an attempt to dethrone Queen Modjadji.

      Olip - 2012-01-13 09:59

      Here is a proposal to make people more aware of the service you (SAW) offer and how people themselves can confirm the rumors with you. Either by phone or internet. In any community by now there should someone who knows how a work phone or Internet and use it to verify the claims. Now you want to reinvent the wheel to suite you, branded people (fans and lovers of the field) as potential terrorists, and cover possible environmental damage under a cloak of bureaucracy.

      Celtis - 2012-01-13 11:52

      What do you expect from a government that have to switch on the wipers to see if it is raining?

      kayceechick - 2012-01-13 12:49

      @ Stinkhout - January 13, 2012 at 11:52 , you got it wrong, they all drive fancy expensive cars with rain detecting wipes... so only if those suddenly spring to life, will they know its raining...

      Chantelle - 2012-01-13 14:37

      trying to put tenders on the weather lol

      Claude - 2012-01-17 22:03

      Read "Into the cannibals pot" by Ilana ....(forgot her surname) Google it!

  • Thando - 2012-01-12 14:27

    Sounds like 1984

      rbphiri - 2012-01-12 15:09

      Sounds like further evidence as to why we are a banana republic.

      rbphiri - 2012-01-12 15:29

      In other news tonight A court has denied a man bail after commenting on a news site that it is raining outside. This follows amendments of the SA Weather Service bill that threatens independent forecasters with fines and imprisonment for issuing severe weather warnings. If convicted the man faces 20 billion years in jail.

      nasheenar - 2012-01-12 16:05

      Rphiri you killing me man... I love the Human f.....ts 2.3% comment. Very good sense of humor we need this.

      Zaq - 2012-01-12 16:10

      What happened then?

      rbphiri - 2012-01-12 16:32

      Thanks Nasheenar! :-)

      rbphiri - 2012-01-12 16:34

      What happened then? well Zool lets build a time travel machine and go find out what happened. Or we can always use google.

      Mattewis - 2012-01-13 13:14

      More gravy for the train! I didn't know Zuma had family in the SA Weather Service too? What has air pollution got to do with the weather? Or is this another one of those laws where they focus our attention on one thing, while secretly intending the act for some other sinister purpose? I presume the air pollution part will soon be joined by water polution, thus prohibiting the disclosure of the fact that radioactive water is seeping to the surface from all the Gauteng mineshafts because the ANC cronies keep on misappropriating the funds necessary for addressing the issue!

  • Andrew - 2012-01-12 14:28

    First the laws on the Secrecy bill, now this is South Africa becoming a police state where every person will be subject to prosecution if we do not stand to attention when a dignatory is present. This country has more regulations than most others where everything we do is being controlled by law.

      ludlowdj - 2012-01-12 14:32

      We are simply following the US lead, but yes as citizens we are the country and government as much as it tries to legislate our ability, is still accountable to the people. Might be time for our own "ARAB SPRING"

      Craig - 2012-01-12 15:43

      What's scary is that the ANC has got control of the "International Security council" for the next month. What crap are they gonna push forward on the rest of mankind???

      Alta - 2012-01-12 16:18

      Except that the majority do not abide to the law in SA

  • Blade - 2012-01-12 14:28

    Is the government still probing the cause of lightning?

      Pieter - 2012-01-12 14:39

      Yes I think lightning should be regulated lol

      Heiku - 2012-01-12 14:41

      Yes. This piece of legislation was created to aid them in this investigation. Since the kept on getting false reports about lightning.

      rbphiri - 2012-01-12 15:13

      I bet mother nature is under heavy police surveillance.

      David - 2012-01-12 15:24

      Yes. The tender for this project has been awarded to the witches up in Limpopo.

      TheWatcher - 2012-01-12 16:12

      damnit blade you beat me to it

      Squeegee - 2012-01-12 19:05

      "Children, come inside, lightening is dangerous!". Off to jail you go! No announcing severe weather.

      Edward - 2012-01-12 22:31

      Maybe it's the same thing as the murder rate. If you don't announce it that means it doesn't really happen.

  • John - 2012-01-12 14:31

    Wow now the weather falls under the Secrecy Bill! Must be because they cannot get their weather predictions right.

  • Peter - 2012-01-12 14:32

    F M D

  • Heini - 2012-01-12 14:32

    First its the "silencing the press" bill, now silencing the weather bill!!?? Really? Does parliment really have time for this???

      Craig - 2012-01-12 18:39

      Hey, they get paid the big salary's 'cos they smart.

      Patsy - 2012-01-14 10:14

      Of course they have time. What do they normally do apart from dozing in their chairs. Do they ever do ANYTHING worthwhile???? Not from what I hear.

  • Ryk - 2012-01-12 14:33

    why o why would we want to bring weather into the law?! Don't we have better things to print on paper?

  • Michelle - 2012-01-12 14:33

    You can rape, murder, mutilate, just don't open your mouth about the weather!!

      Gerhard - 2012-01-12 14:45

      Simon Gear is going to have to skip the country now! He is going to be on SA's most wanted...

      Anon - 2012-01-13 15:19

      @Michelle, you can rape, murder, mutilate, as long as you don't mention the weather while smoking the secrecy bill!!

  • Deeteem - 2012-01-12 14:33

    This is what it was like in the army in the 70's !! Someone will think for you which suits certain people !!

      George - 2012-01-12 18:26

      Yes, but they dont know how to think, that the differance

  • Morne - 2012-01-12 14:33

    How can you 'regulate' something you cannot control?

      Anthony - 2012-01-12 14:45

      easy ask the government, "ancyl"

      Randomhero6661 - 2012-01-12 14:48

      but you forget there is a conspiracy of H.A.A.R.P being a weather control system...

      David - 2012-01-12 15:12

      Next they will tell the "sheep" that the grass is green after all the lovely rain and that they can expect a nice warm weather this coming winter..almost like living in North Korea! What next?.JZ will will insist he be called "dear leader"?

      Pieter - 2012-01-12 15:13

      Ha ha trust our official circus - they can

  • Gareth - 2012-01-12 14:34

    What a load of bollocks!

  • jacques.byliefeldt - 2012-01-12 14:35

    Cloudy with a chance of bullsh*t...

  • xbrynx - 2012-01-12 14:35

    I run - a non profit weather related website which is going to be hit hard should this bill come into effect. The SAWS has over the years leaned more into a business model from a public service and this bill will finalize that step by turning it into a business model into a monopoly. I have just forwarded my written piece to a representitive speaker who will attend the public hearings, as his website is also in jeprody. This bill will decrease the public awareness of severe weather and limit the speed in which information gets out. I urge everyone that can to attend the public hearings and attempt to stop the government from turning public safety into a monopolized business model.

      justin.pretorius - 2012-01-12 14:41

      This is an attempt to steal money from citizens to prop up defunct and decaying parastatals. I urge every person to attend these hearings and stop the regime!!

      Heiku - 2012-01-12 14:43

      Sup bryn! What do you think is the aim of this bill from governments perspective?

      Heiku - 2012-01-12 14:44

      Oh nevermind

      Pieter - 2012-01-12 14:53

      Run for your life pal.

      Dexter - 2012-01-12 15:37

      Hope you guys can do something about this, insane

  • jacques.byliefeldt - 2012-01-12 14:36

    Cloudy with a very good chance of bullsh*t

      Pieter - 2012-01-12 14:53

      110% chance!!!

  • Shirley - 2012-01-12 14:36

    This pathetic government HAS to CONTROL EVERYTHING! Realy this censorship cr@p is spounding more and more like china everyday!

      Randomhero6661 - 2012-01-12 14:50

      shirley beware they control the internet as well....

      Pieter - 2012-01-12 14:54

      What goverment? Do we have something like that. Its a circus!

  • Twain - 2012-01-12 14:36

    It seems the government doesn't have better things to worry about. That's a relief.

  • Morne - 2012-01-12 14:36

    Oh well, I suppose it's the end of small talk as we know it...

      Chrono - 2012-01-12 14:47

      Exactly @Morne. No more "How's the weather that side?" or "Do you know what the weather's gonna do tomorrow"?. That type of small talk will only be ok with the Weather Service.

      Pieter - 2012-01-12 14:51

      Yeah - pitty Wonder waaroor gaan mens nou met die girls gesels. Jy maggie se kom ons doen dit weer lol

  • Pieter - 2012-01-12 14:37

    Eish - how about a farting bill? Bunch of jokers for the last 100 years

      Pieter - 2012-01-12 14:45

      Oh I forgot - its called the income tax bill

      Grant - 2012-01-12 20:56

      Pieter Bunch of jokers? Nobody in SA is laughing bbut the rest of the world is plssing themselves!

  • Max - 2012-01-12 14:37

    For those who still had a bit of doubt, South Africa is now officially a banana republic.

      Pieter - 2012-01-12 14:52

      Without banana's only bafana's

      Mark - 2012-01-12 16:23

      to true my true

  • christian.helberg - 2012-01-12 14:38

    You have got to be kidding, now they want to control what information we are entitled to about the weather! we have lost our right to know anything. Time to take a stand

      Pieter - 2012-01-12 14:46

      What rights - human rights? don't make me laugh

      Shirley - 2012-01-12 14:59

      Starting to sound too much like China-they have been teaching the anc well!

  • Penny - 2012-01-12 14:39

    Ok so when I tell my domestic worker that 'we are in for a hell of storm' or the North West wind is blowing and bringing rain to Cape Town and that it traditionally rains on boxing day evening and tweede Nuwe Jaar, I am committing an offence to warn her to carry a raincoat/umbrella?? Oh cart me away in chains now and spare me this crap!

      Pieter - 2012-01-12 14:47

      tip penny from now on the wheather is a secret hie hie

      David - 2012-01-12 15:15

      Penny you will get 15 yrs in PollsMoor for that..hehe

      Russell - 2012-01-12 15:22

      careful what you wish for, they're watching you know.

  • Sagren - 2012-01-12 14:39

    Animal Farm - By George Orwell - READ IT _ THAT IS SOUTH AFRICA - I wonder if we can call JZ "Snowball"

      Pieter - 2012-01-12 14:48

      No! rather no balls

      Randomhero6661 - 2012-01-12 14:53


      wdasneves - 2012-01-12 15:36


      margaret.mead1 - 2012-01-18 16:19

      JZ? He's the wrong colour.

  • Sanet Oelofse - 2012-01-12 14:42

    Did someone buy an umbrella, because he/she was told it was going to rain and is now suffering a financial loss as a result? Those b@st@rds!

      Pieter - 2012-01-12 14:49

      Hmmm so the FAIS act is involved here too - giving the wrong advice... beware lol

  • Luke - 2012-01-12 14:42

    oh FFS... pitty the fool/s

  • Dianne - 2012-01-12 14:46

    Wow? Big brother really is watching! And they thought I was paranoid...

  • Deon - 2012-01-12 14:46

    It sounds like another stupid law to make money to waiste. Luckily we don't have Tsunami's - not yet anyway.

  • Gideon - 2012-01-12 14:47

    Up yours SA!

      Randomhero6661 - 2012-01-12 14:55

      up yours too Gideon - tenfold!

      Randomhero6661 - 2012-01-12 15:18

      ex South African or newly reformed Australian????

  • JudithNkwe - 2012-01-12 14:48

    This is counter productive to working together for a better future. Schools should be involved early on in air quality and water quality projects, giving children the experience of scientific methods from an early age. If this is done, then we will create more young scientists - which we desperately need. We need carrots not sticks if the country is to move forward effectively.

  • rynhardt.ferreira - 2012-01-12 14:49


      David - 2012-01-12 15:17

      Eish, off to jail you go!!LOL

  • Garth - 2012-01-12 14:50

    I am playing Golf in the Highveld and suddenly a electrical storm approaches. The club cannot call me off the course and if I get struck by lightening my family will not be compensated. Further more if I do get called off SAWB can claim the greenfees of all potential players?

  • chris.hitchcock1 - 2012-01-12 14:50

    So if I look out of the window and then tell my colleagues that it 'looks like it's going to piss down any minute', then I can be fined or sent to jail.

      Gerhard - 2012-01-12 14:56

      Exactly! You do the crime, you better be prepared to do the time. And no chance of medical parole for you either!

  • Larry - 2012-01-12 14:50

    This takes the cake. Now the ANC wants to control the Weather?

  • Garth - 2012-01-12 14:51

    Is it possible for this useless anc to stoop any lower in their quest for self-enrichment? No, they have to go one step further and add a clause giving the ineptocrats' weather service the rights to any and all `unlawful' monies earned by private weather institutions. So a private yacht club may not send out warning of a squall without prior permission. What about the various Paper Mills around the country whose sirens blare at the first hint of a sudden gust of wind? Idiots!

  • Call_Of_Muti_3 - 2012-01-12 14:51

    Who takes weather reports seriously anyway?

  • mengelbrecht1 - 2012-01-12 14:55

    What a load of crap!!!!!!

  • mathilde.duplessis - 2012-01-12 14:58

    What about: It will be very hot today. Don't leave your children in the car, make sure that the aged are well hydrated, keep out of the sun. Or this one : Avoid the low water bridge in Voortrekker Road because the cloudburst has caused a flash flood. Stuff you won't ever have time to apply for permission to send around the net before the first victims are caught.

  • Eduard - 2012-01-12 14:58

    WTF......jobless rates are sky high, crime & corruption are more common than air and our government worries about the weather..... Come on!!!!

  • Pieter - 2012-01-12 14:59

    Okay guys Iam locking off. The weather will be fine and mild with mistery clouds hanging over parlement. Future darkness will pevail as politicians all jocking for positions. The only light allowed will be the Blue Light Brigade. See you all in 5 years time - my first offence.

  • Leigh de Beer - 2012-01-12 15:00

    Maybe if the SA weather service could themselves be accurate for a change I would be willing to listen to them. But as for their forecasts and going to sea I would rather trust my sore knee. Bunch of gravy train robbers

  • Clarence - 2012-01-12 15:01

    F***kin incompetent and stupid politicians want to control everything. The current crop of all politicians in this country are just a bunch of uselesss motherf***kers.

  • Bryan - 2012-01-12 15:03

    Alltogether now....."B.U.L.L.S.H.I.T"

  • clayplum - 2012-01-12 15:03

    Lets turn it around for a minute:- if this law is passed and the SA Weather service issues a severe weather warning for an area and residents take the necessary precautions, then the "severe weather" never materialises, residents can then sue the SA weather service for compensation??? Would this not also fall under the contravention of the CPA in terms of providing the public with misleading informtion? What a joke!

      Pieter - 2012-01-12 15:31

      NO - they are a goverment institution and protected under that law

  • Koos - 2012-01-12 15:06

    there seems to be a storm approaching the roodepoort area with dark clouds and cold wind which might suggest that hail will fall again like 2 nights ago...... the weather service did not predict hail 2 nights ago that screwed up my garden so therefore you bloody need to come and fix it!!! idiots these cANCer cronies!!!!!!

  • Shipingana - 2012-01-12 15:06

    The river was flowing and as you know there is no bridge. That's why I was absent from work yesterday, if you follow up than you will be fined. Nice excuse for absentism too. Sorry boss, that's the new SA.

  • Schmee - 2012-01-12 15:06

    Shhhhh better watch our comments here too. Soon that will also be probed and then we will be legislated into silence.

      Pieter - 2012-01-12 15:48

      Silence is golden....

  • markdoubleu - 2012-01-12 15:10

    I know that the weather does not register quite as high on the average person's radar than, say, the rampant corruption among our clueless leaders, but if this passes it would create a horribly dangerous precedent. Aside from the money-grubbing motives behind it, it directly impacts on freedom of information and speech and, once we start giving those up, even in the smallest of increments, it will be extremely hard to get them back and increasingly easy to lose more. Surely, if the Freedom of Information bill is to be challenged (and, if sanity prevails, defeated) in the concourt, as seems inevitable, this blatant piece of profiteering doesn't stand a chance? Let's hope someone with the resources takes issue enough with this to take the fight to them.

  • Schalk - 2012-01-12 15:11

    Just wondering. The BBC (and other news channels) have world wide weather reports which includes SA. Is the banana republic going to charge them too? Maybe those guys will then start giving the ANC some negative press although they are deep up their behinds I doubt it.

  • Robin - 2012-01-12 15:11

    What a bunch of incompetent idiots - are there more than a couple of potentially functional brain cells amongst the lot of them? The weather bureau now becomes a money-making scam.

  • Fredster - 2012-01-12 15:11

    Phew, I will be in the clouds

      leigh.pollock - 2012-01-12 16:28

      I guess we won't be able to sing "it's Raining Men" anymore... very dangerous weather condition ...