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SAWS: Equipment failed ahead of Gauteng, KZN storms

Some of the South African Weather Service's most important equipment were not operational in the run-up to the severe storms in Gauteng and KZN.

Storm hits Durban CBD

The entity's CEO Jerry Lengoasa briefed the media in Pretoria on Thursday. 

Parts of North West, Gauteng, eastern Free State, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KZN were hit by heavy downpours, damaging winds and hail this week. 


Tornadoes also moved through parts of Ruimsig on the West Rand, Eloff near Delmas and the Free State. 

Several people were killed and hospitals, schools, malls and homes destroyed. 

"We issued the warnings in time and our forecasting system did well. However, our critical infrastructure for disaster risk reduction and improved analysis of storms failed us," said Lengoasa.

Only two of the five radars were functional ahead of the storms. 

Lengoasa also admitted the weather service needs to improve its communication. 

"Whilst we did send out our weather watch and severe weather warnings, these were directed to our primary first level users such as the National Disaster Management Centre, some media partners and private sector clients and partners. The vast majority of ordinary citizens did not receive this critical life and livelihood saving information." 

Lengoasa gave an assurance that plans are in place to address the shortcomings. 

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