Bill 'could create weather monopoly'

2012-01-25 14:17

Cape Town - The draft SA Weather Service amendment bill will create an unfair monopoly on weather services, Parliament's environmental affairs committee heard on Wednesday.

"It can't be pure coincidence that this legislation can be used against all private competition in a very monopolistic way," forecasting website owner Randolf Jorberg said in a submission to public hearings by the committee.

"The bill in its current state clearly doesn't help to create fair relations between private companies and the SA Weather Service."

Jorberg said if passed, the bill would contravene annex 3 to The World Meteorological Organisation's Resolution 40, which laid down guidelines for relations between a national weather service and commercial services.

Co-operative interaction

The annex states that both sectors should recognise each other's contributions to the industry and the mutual benefit of co-operative interaction.

It further states that "in the case where the national service of a country, particularly of a developing country, were to consider itself affected by the commercial sector's commercial use of data [that] originated in its own country", all parties should negotiate to achieve a satisfactory agreement.

Ocean Satellite Imaging Systems owner Jean Pierre Arabonis said the clause requiring permission to issue a severe weather warning was uncompetitive.

"It is the same as one retailer asking another retailer for permission to have a sale," he said.

"We should still have the ability to issue that warning, specifically to our clients."

Arabonis said the draft bill would be detrimental to the safety of mariners in South Africa.


Committee chairperson Johnny de Lange said the bill was likely to be re-worded so that it would only be an offence if a hoax or false, misleading information about severe weather was released to the public sector.

He said the committee would investigate commercialisation concerns, as important weather information should not be kept from a person at a fee.

"I've got no problem with the commercialisation but there are some services that may not, should not, be commercialised... if we see some services should be more freely available then we'll engage in the weather bureau with those.

"I am worried more about citizens and the flow of information about the weather so that they can regulate their lives in a way that can keep them safe and the citizens around them."

To access unusual weather and storm warnings on the SA Weather Service website, a person has to subscribe to one of three packages priced between R40 and R180.

  • David - 2012-01-25 14:36

    The state is trying to monopolize the weather?..bwahahahahaha. We must be living in North Korea then...LOL.

      Ann - 2012-01-25 15:35

      "could" - surely you mean "will, if allowed ..." - just like they manipulate EVERYTHING else!!!

      Squeegee - 2012-01-25 16:05

      Talk about a storm on a gravy train.

      Louis - 2012-01-25 16:41

      Is there any money in it for the anc to steal or are they going to deploy cadres there as well. You see they have not stuffed up the weather, but given time the anc will do that as well. After all it the only job where the anc cadre can get the forcast 99% right 1% of the time and still keep his job. When they do get it wrong they will blame apartheid and the whites all because the white man invented all equipment. In the end they anc will go back to throwing the bones or beating the drums for rain.

  • Sharp - 2012-01-25 14:39

    How does the state intend regulating weather information from international sources?

      David - 2012-01-25 15:04

      They may block TV transmission to RSA by external networks, forcing us to watch only SANC 1,2&3. Just like North Korea.

  • Citizen - 2012-01-25 14:46

    @Clinton ,sorry brother but you are the reason why they do things like this, the government sees this as an opportunity to rip people off, dont pay for anything...there is always something else for free...

      Ann - 2012-01-25 15:36

      @ Clinton - good luck unsubscribing from ANY governmental institution - they will still have your banking details ...

  • Hendrik - 2012-01-25 14:56

    I like the comparison made with "it's like one reatiler asking the other for permission to have a sale". The bill wants to give S.A, weather service exclusive rights to "get it wrong". But they would be alloweed to get it wrong. No mention of any 'punishment' for them getting it wrong?

  • Xavier7034 - 2012-01-25 15:09

    Even the HOT Air in parliament and Luthuli House?

      Robert - 2012-01-25 15:23

      Exactly, so no-one will be allowed to issue a stink warning to the masses, the next time the ANC buffett table farts !!!

  • john.m.mcdowall - 2012-01-25 15:29

    What is wrong with these wankers, the weather is the weather WTF are they going to do to change it?

  • Bob - 2012-01-25 16:18

    Exactly as I warned in my previous posts...!

  • tony.bosman2 - 2012-01-25 16:46

    This is the most rediculously hillarious thing I have seen in so far this year. What next???? waether tax???...LMAO

      Heiku - 2012-01-25 16:55

      They already have a carbon tax. Not sure if a weather tax will be less or more outrageous.

  • Zion - 2012-01-25 17:14

    There is no national faith in almost all of the parastatal s. What we have seen, however, is waste, bribery, corruption an all other ailments that go with it. How is Joe public able to form a judgement against the weather man? If the weather man says it will rain and the percentage is 60% and no rain falls in that area is it then ok because all make mistakes. Do we judge incompetence according to that promised but never materialised. or are there other criteria we know nothing about. If a Katrina comes avisiting and practically destroys the place and weatherman has said nothing who takes the blame. Will Joe citizen be tolled like the roads. No siree, the weather should have been privatised years ago. Just another Escom, Telkom, and now another cupped hand to draw off the booty.

  • Eddie - 2012-01-25 20:41

    The communist ANC dictatorship try to camoflage their all consuming greed to control all and everybody with the lame excuse that "we want to regulate who may make weather predictions because it could be damaging if wrong forecasts are made" and "any one who give out wrong weather information must be punished". Well it will be very hard indeed for any one to make worse and more inaccurate wrong weather predictions than the ANC's lackey weather service! Will they also be prevented from giving out the rubbish they now do and will they also be given the same proposed punishment everytime their forecasts are incorrect?

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