Local news, information and insights

August 9, 2021

Twelve years ago, SmilingSouth was a blog set up for a rainy day. It’s been a very busy 12 years, so it has stayed quiet until now. Welcome.

Festival – your eyes and ears matter

August 8, 2021
Mommy Mommy by Thami Majela and Tebogo Gxubane is one of the shows on the Fringe Live. Photo: Mark Wessels,
  • You can still watch performances, even though the 2021 Festival has officially closed.
  • Fringe artists benefit if you leave a message for them on Standard Bank’s Bank of Dreams portal.

The almost-all-online 47th edition of the National Arts Festival provided a platform for artists to earn some income – although online fatigue and the violent events following the former president’s jailing for contempt of court meant smaller audiences.

The 2021 edition of the Festival was meant to be a hybrid event –  some live performances in Makhanda for smaller audiences, alongside an expanded online offering. Leading up to it, was a series of live performances under the Standard Bank Presents banner, in Cape Town, Durban and Joburg (the last was moved online as Joburg quickly turned into the epicenter of the Covid third wave).

Lockdown Level 4 meant locals could see the Nature is Louder street art project happening live, but everything else happened on screen – a switch the Festival achieved in less than two weeks.

“One of our clearest intentions for this Festival was to provide a space that would see artists and technicians working again,” said Festival CEO Monica Newton. “We are keenly aware of the severe impact of Covid-19 on artists’ livelihoods, and we also know that they need to be seen and heard by audiences and their fellow artists from whom they have been cut off for so long.”

The Eastern Cape Cape’s Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts & Culture created opportunities for Eastern Cape artists  through the Eastern Cape Showcase, in the curated and jazz programmes and at home, where physical pop-up shops were arranged in Gqeberha for crafters. 
“We were determined during these challenging times to ensure that our artists had an opportunity to transition from relief to recovery within their own creative spaces,” said MEC for Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture, Fezeka Nkomonye.”
The Festival attracted a supportive and enthusiastic community of online fans, but the number of visitors to the website was lower than in 2020. Newton said it was a tough year to hold the attention of audiences.

“Online fatigue has really set in for many people and the unrest in South Africa happened right in the middle of the Festival so many people’s attention was rightfully on the situation that we found ourselves in as a country.”

The Festival once again attracted an overseas audience, particularly from the United States, Britain, Ireland, Sweden, Indonesia, Canada, India and Nigeria. 

“We are hoping to return to live events and experiences as soon as possible, but there are some interesting possibilities for the arts online and we want to incorporate them into future festivals,” Newton said.

Audiences around the world interested in the arts in Africa, expats, and locals who choose online over live for various reasons are among those in a growing online audience.

Will the 48th National Arts Festival will be live in Makhanda? Newton says 2021 showed the Festival needs a plan B, C and D,

“We have our sights set on a live Festival in 2022, but we know we can offer our programme online if we need to,” she said.

The Fringe is still online

Even though the Festival period has ended, the Fringe Live remains online for visitors to explore. Look out for all the Standard Bank Ovation Award winners (Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards). 
Support the  Festival’s Fringe Artists for free
Long-time National Arts Festival partner, Standard Bank, has designed a creative and simple way for arts-lovers to support the artists who brought work, at their own expense, to the 2021 National Arts Festival Fringe.
Click on Standard Bank’s Bank of Dreams  https://arts.standardbank.co.za and leave a message for the artists. Standard Bank will convert these messages into cash that will be shared with all the Fringe works ‘staged’ during the Festival period up until 31 July 2021. In other words, you don’t have to pay anything – Standard Bank will. The goal is to raise R 500 000 by the end of August 2021. 

EC reaches 1 million vaccination milestone

September 19, 2021

The Eastern Cape Department of health has reached an important milestone in Covid-19 vaccination by having 1 million of its population fully vaccinated.

By Thursday 16 September 2021, a total of 1 002 813 people had been fully vaccinated around the province, with the 60-year-olds and above accounting for the bigger percentage, currently standing at 62% having been vaccinated.
The milestone contributes towards attaining the herd immunity of the province of inoculating 4,5 million population by end March 2022. Of the vaccinated population, about 43 385 health workers have received their jabs.

Thus far, the department has administered a cumulative 1 929 675 jabs around the province, with 1 362 708 individuals having received either a single dose of Johnson and Johnson or both jabs of the Pfizer vaccine.

The province continues to make strides towards reaching a broader community of the province by implementing intensive vaccination campaigns.

The community-based vaccination programme with pop up vaccination sites in shopping malls, SASSA pay points, mobile points, community halls and churches ensures that services are taken closer to communities. This is particularly important in a rural province like the EasternCape, with many communities living in far flung areas of the province.

There has been a targeted strategy to strengthen rural registrations and vaccinations around the province.

The department has also focussed on increasing our capability to provide vaccinations by increasing the number of accredited sites that provide the vaccination service. Majority of the sites are Primary Care facilities, which again means our services are closer to where people live and work. We strive to make our services convenient to access.

Our vaccination drive has also been boosted by the arrival of Transnet Vaccine Train Transvaco that will travel to communities along the rail corridor in order to expand the reach of government’s vaccine programme.

Transvaco will be stationed in Gqeberha until the 24th September 2021 and moves to East London with Komani expected to be the last stop in December.

MEC Nomakhosazana Meth has
expressed words of appreciation to the Eastern Cape community for responding positively towards Covid-19 vaccination drive and calls on those eligible for vaccination to come forward to receive the life saving jab.

“This is a big achievement for the province, but as the department, we still have a responsibility to encourage those eligible to come forward for vaccination”. Meth said

Meth further showed gratitude to health personnel for the commitment and dedication they displayed in the fight against Covid-19 and the implementation of the vaccine rollout in the province.

” We are grateful for our devoted healthworkers, for your courage, persistence, and dedication. We want you to know that your sacrifices mean a great deal to the province. We truly are thankful for you and sending you love and positivity”.she added

Currently, the province has more than eight thousand active Covid-19 cases, with more than fourteen thousand people having succumbed to the virus since March 2020.

People are encouraged to continue to adhere to Covid-19 protocols by wearing masks, observing social distancing and washing your hands with water and soap. It is also important to ensure you have good ventilation when driving in vehicles and when indoors, with windows and doors open to allow fresh air to circulate.

  • Issued by the Eastern Cape Department of Health Communication Services.

Correcting your tax return

September 15, 2021

SARS eFiling tips

#Tax Matters – Caxton Column 10

In case you have missed some of the tips to easily comply – What to do next?

Filing Season can appear intimidating and seem to be time-consuming at the best of times, but this year we have continued to make it easier for you. Here are some of the tips to remind you how easy it is to comply.

Tip 1. SARS eFiling tips: Requesting for correction on your Income Tax Return

Did you know that if your submitted Income Tax Return (ITR12) has an error, you can revise and resubmit it?

To revise an initially submitted Income Tax Return, the taxpayer or the tax representative should use the function “Request Correction” on eFiling to re-resubmit an updated Income tax return to SARS.

This function must be used when a taxpayer or tax representative made an error during the completion of the initial return. However, a request for correction (to resubmit a revised Income tax Return) will not be permitted in the following instances:

  • If the return is on an issued or saved state;
  • If the request for correction was submitted for an active verification in progress;
  • An active audit case is in progress;
  • An agreed estimate was performed by SARS for the Personal Income Tax;
  • SARS has finalised an audit case or a Revised Declaration of your Personal Income Tax; or
  • If you have submitted supporting documents for an active verification.

The eFiling status will change to Correction Filed once you have submitted the Request for Correction.

Tip 2. Are you always on the go?

Why not download and use the SARS MobiApp to interact with SARS and to manage all your tax matters?

The SARS MobiApp allows taxpayers to complete and submit Income Tax Returns (ITR12); submit supporting documents, check refund status and much more.

Below are more transactions that can be done on the SARS MobiApp:

  • Register for eFiling
  • Reset your username and password
  • Make a payment to SARS
  • Set up a Call Back from the SARS Contact Centre
  • View a Notice of Assessment
  • Request and view the Income Tax Statement of Account
  • View the status of the return
  • Use the tax calculator
  • Saved ITR12 returns are auto refreshed
  • The Branch Locator shows the estimated waiting queue time
  • Activation of the Income Tax Return (ITR12) via the SARS MobiApp
  • Tax Practitioners can access the SARS MobiApp for the completion and submission of their Personal Income Tax clients and their Personal Income Tax products where they have full access rights; and

Tip 3. Lwazi ChatBot: Additional services for taxpayers

Need help with your tax matters? Why not ask our virtual assistant, ‘Lwazi the ChatBot’

Lwazi ChatBot is an interactive self-service platform available via the SARS eFiling or the SARS MobiApp. This platform allows taxpayers / tax representatives to ask tax related questions to SARS using the convenience of their smart phone, tablet or computer.

To improve customer experience and enable effective self-service offerings when using this platform, SARS has enhanced the Lwazi ChatBot to provide additional self-service options.

Enhancements made to the “Lwazi” virtual assistant allows taxpayers to access the following service requests:

  • Personal Income Tax Reference Number request
  • Personal Income Tax  Statement of Account request
  • Personal Income Tax  Refund Status request
  • Personal Income Tax  Audit Status request
  • Personal Income Tax  Notice of Assessment (ITA34)
  • Request SARS to Call back

You can download and install the SARS MobiApp from the App Store (for Apple devices), Google Play Store (for Android devices) or the Huawei App Gallery.

You know what to do, share this information with all those around you. Follow, Like and Share our posts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for more tips.


  • This column is supplied by the South African Revenue Service and is published unaltered.

Farmer dies in Nanaga farm attack

September 6, 2021

Police are searching for at least three armed men involved in the fatal shooting of a 55-year-old farm owner, and injuring his son following the invasion of their farm house near Nanaga last night.

On Sunday 5 September 2021 at approximately 6.30pm, three armed men entered the home of Werner and Estelle Buchner on their dairy farm, Boslaagte, near Nanaga in the Sarah Baartman District, Agri EC’s  Rural Safety Manager Jason Kümm said in a media statement.

Werner Senior was shot in the back and his son Werner Buchner Junior was also shot when the attackers entered the premises. Estelle Buchner had attempted to shield her husband and son with her own body, upon which the attackers had proceeded to kick and beat her. This resulted in both her arms being broken, Kumm said.

Estelle and Werner Buchner Junior were taken to a hospital in Gqeberha for treatment, where Werner Junior has undergone surgery and is now in a stable condition.

“Unfortunately, Agri Eastern Cape is saddened to announce that Mr Werner Buchner Senior was fatally wounded and died on the scene,” Kumm said.

“Estelle Buchner made the call for help and the local farming community and role players immediately responded to the call. At this stage the reason for the attack is unknown and the only items missing from the home are two cellphones and an undisclosed amount of money.”

All three attackers were still at large and the SAPS dog unit and other statutory forces had been deployed to assist in the search.

“Agri Eastern Cape would like to thank the local farming community who immediately responded to the call for help from Estelle and acknowledge the coordinated and controlled manner in which they activated their emergency procedures,” Kumm said. “Agri Eastern Cape extends its deepest condolences to the Buchner family, their friends, and the Alexandria farming community.”

Police spokesperson Sergeant Majola Nkohli said, “At this stage, the details of the…  incident are sketchy.  Police are investigating a case of murder with additional charges of attempted murder and house robbery for further investigation.”

Anyone who can assist with information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects, who are still at large is requested to contact the nearest police station.  The information may also be shared via Crime Stop 08600 10111. All information is strictly confidential and callers have the right to remain anonymous.

Makhanda woman murdered in home invasion

September 4, 2021

Police are investigating a case of murder and house robbery after a woman was killed and her husband assaulted during a home invasion in Makhanda late last night.

South African Police Service  spokesperson Sergeant Majola Nkohli said on Friday 3 September 2021 at around 10.30pm, two or more men armed with knives stormed into the Ngqawana Street, Vukani, home of Thokozile Chrisjan, 38,  and attacked the couple. 

Thokozile was fatally stabbed during the incident.

The men also stole two television sets and three cellphones before fleeing in the couple’s vehicle, Nkohli said. Their Nissan SUV was later found burnt on the Fort Beaufort Road outside Makhanda. 

“The circumstances relating to the incident will form part of the investigation,” Nkohli said. “Police opened a case of murder with a second charge of house robbery for further investigation.

Anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects is urged to contact the investigating officer, Warrant Officer Nathan Gabriel on 082 301 9071 or 083 468 7063. Information may also be shared via Crime Stop 08600 10111.

Police seek armed men after home robbery

August 28, 2021

Police are investigating a case of house robbery after armed men attacked a home in Makhanda in the early hours of this morning, 28 August 2021.

“A couple was sleeping in the bedroom at about 12.40am, when they heard someone forcing the lounge door of their house in MacDonald Street, Makhanda,” said Sergeant Majola Nkohli. 

A complainant later told the police that at least three men wearing balaclavas, all armed with firearms had stormed into the house and held the couple at gunpoint.

“The suspects stole an undisclosed amount of cash, cellphones and a necklace before fleeing the scene,” Nkohli said.  A case of house robbery was opened for further investigation.

MacDonald Street is in the vicinity of the Queen Street taxi rank.

Anyone who might be able to assist with information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects, who are still at large is requested to contact the detectives standby number on 082 301 9427.  The information may also be shared via Crime Stop 08600 10111. All information is strictly confidential and callers have the right to remain anonymous.

Two in court after drug bust

August 26, 2021

Two men appeared in the Magistrate’s Court in Makhanda on drug charges, after their arrest in the vicinity of Queen Street taxi rank last weekend.

South African Police Service spokesperson Sergeant Nkohli confirmed the men were arrested in the vicinity of the Queen Street taxi rank, on Friday, 20 August 2021

“Police found 38 mandrax tablets and 32 bankies of tik [in their possession],” Nkohli said. “The total value of the illicit drugs seized is estimated to be R 4 680.”

The two men briefly appeared in the Makhanda magistrate’s court on Monday, 23 August 2021 on charges of possession of illicit drugs, and were released on warning, pending a report from the laboratory. The case was postponed to Wednesday, 23 February 2022 for further investigation.

Snowy, cold conditions over parts of SA this weekend

August 26, 2021

For Makhanda, the cold arrives Friday and stays through Saturday, warming up to 15C max on Sunday. Here, the South African Weather Service predicts 3mm rain on Friday (tomorrow) and 3mm on Tuesday, but otherwise just cold.

An intense cold front associated with a steep upper-air trough, currently moving in over the south-western Cape, is expected to spread eastwards to the central and eastern parts of the country during the course of this weekend. Cold to very cold temperatures are expected over the central, southern and western parts of the country from Friday into Saturday (27 to 28 August 2021). Atmospheric conditions will become ideal for widespread snowfall to occur over the high-lying areas of the Cape provinces during Friday. Snowy conditions will subsequently spread to KwaZulu-Natal and Lesotho on Saturday. 

Figure 1: Satellite image for Thursday 26 August 2021, indicating the approaching cold front, located over the western Atlantic Ocean. Source: Eumetsat (2021).

Disruptive snowfalls of 5 to 10 cm are expected from Friday onwards over the high-lying areas of the Western Cape as well as the western and southern high-lying areas of the Northern Cape. Heavier snowfall of 10 to 20 cm is also likely over the extreme south-western parts of the Northern Cape (including the Nuweveld and Roggeveld mountains) as well as the Cederberg and Hex River mountains of the Western Cape.  Due to significant cooling within the atmosphere and corresponding lowering of freezing levels, snow can also be expected at lower altitudes and in the lower foothills of mountain ranges.

Snowy conditions are expected to reach the western and central high-lying areas of the Eastern Cape (Sneeuberge and Winterberge mountains) during Friday evening, while the south-western and western high- lying areas of KwaZulu-Natal and the Drakensberg region can anticipate snowfall by Saturday.


Figure 2: Snowfall accumulation (24 hour) in cm for Friday (left) and Saturday (right). Source: High Resolution Unified Model (South African Weather Service)

These conditions will persist until Saturday morning over the western and southern parts of the Northern Cape and the high-lying areas of the Western Cape, persisting well into the evening over the high-lying areas of the Eastern Cape and the western and southern high-lying areas of KwaZulu-Natal. The extreme north-eastern Drakensberg mountains of the Eastern Cape and the south-western mountains of KwaZulu-Natal may experience disruptive snowfall during the course of Saturday, which may result in the closure of mountain passes and associated disruption to traffic due to icy and slippery roads. Moreover, some communities at higher altitude (such as ski lodges) may become isolated due to deep snow drifts.


Figure 3: Predicted maximum temperatures (left) and 24-hour rainfall accumulation in mm (right) for Saturday (28 August 2021). Source: High Resolution Unified Model (South African Weather Service)

Cloudy, cold and wet weather will persist on Saturday, 28 August 2021 along the south-western, southern and south-eastern coastal regions of the country, extending across the eastern half of the Eastern Cape and most parts of KwaZulu-Natal. Significant rainfall, in the order of 20 to 40 mm may occur over parts of KwaZulu-Natal and the extreme eastern parts of the Eastern Cape on this day. Cold to very cold conditions will dominate the majority of the interior of the country on Saturday and Sunday, with the possible exception of the north-eastern Lowveld areas, where, by contrast, it will be warm to hot on Saturday.

South Africans can expect a gradual clearing in weather conditions, combined with a consistent recovery in daily daytime temperatures from Monday onwards. Given that overnight minimum temperatures may take several days to recover in the wake of this cold spell, there is a distinct possibility of overnight frost occurring over parts of the interior early next week.

The South African Weather Service will continue to monitor any further developments relating to this weather system and will issue subsequent updates as required. Furthermore, the public are urged and encouraged to regularly follow weather forecasts on television and radio. Updated information in this regard will regularly be available at www.weathersa.co.za as well as via the SA Weather Service Twitter account @SAWeatherServic

Compiled by Wayne Venter and edited by Kevin Rae.

  • Media release from the South African Weather Service.

Police recover hijacked truck and goods

August 25, 2021

Police recovered a truck and groceries worth millions of rands  after a horse and trailer travelling from  Makhanda to East London was hijacked on the N2 near Ntabozuko (Berlin ) around 9.30pm on Monday, 23 August.

South African Police Service spokesperson Segreant Majola Nkohli said a bakkie with six armed men opened fire on the truck forcing the driver to stop.

“They then pulled him out and tied him in the bushes before driving off with the truck,” Nkohli said. “The driver managed to free himself and looked for help from the nearby location where he was taken to the Berlin police station for assistance.”

A search was activated with the assistance of King  William’s Town flying squad and, with the help of a tracker, a signal was  picked at Hogsback. 

“On recovery of the truck, information led the police to a warehouse in Balfour, where more of the goods were hidden,” Nkohli said. “The BCM District Commander, Major General Henry Vos, commended  the outstanding work of the King William’s Town flying squad.”

No arrests had been made at this stage, Nkohli said.

  • This is an edited media release from SAPS (Eastern Cape).

More than 59 000 candidates nominated for local government elections

August 24, 2021

‘The lengths to which parties and independent candidates have gone to ensure compliance with obviously tight timeframes is remarkable’
– Electoral Commission


First and foremost, we wish to thank political parties and independent candidates for their continued interest in electoral democracy. Such interest tells us that the electoral democratic project is well and alive in the country. It is not lost to the Commission that the unfolding nomination process had to be undertaken against the backdrop of a pernicious pandemic which is threatening our collective existence.

The lengths to which parties and independent candidates have gone to ensure compliance with obviously tight timeframes is remarkable and indicative of agility within our political system.

In line with the Electoral Timetable, the first stage of the candidate nomination process concluded last night. The deadline for the submissions was 21h00. There is currently work in progress to collate all the nomination information. The preliminary figures indicate the total number of candidates standing at 59 272, including those captured through the online candidate nomination system as well manually in the local office of the Commission. 74 per cent of preliminary candidates were captured through the online system, whereas 26 per cent came through manual submissions. This innovative ICT solution continues to offer operational efficiencies whilst at the same time giving political parties and independent candidates greater control over the capturing process.

Local offices of the Commission are still currently busy capturing manual submissions that were received by the cut of time of 21h00 yesterday. The plan is to conclude this capturing by the end of today.

The total number of municipal council seats being contested in this year election is 10 285. There are 276 unique political parties that submitted candidates of which two are contesting in all the 257 municipalities in the country. The total number of independents currently captured is 944. In 2016 there were 855 independent candidates.

The compliance verification processes is already under way. This is to ensure that candidates on the system are compliant with the electoral prescripts.

As at this morning the total election deposits paid amount to just over R 7 million. Some payments were made late last night through electronic funds transfer and these may take up to 48 hours to reflect in the bank account of the Commission.

We confirm that the online system closed at 21h34. The reason for this was to enable the data transfer from the public website where the online candidate nomination system is hosted into the internal business application. In the interests of sound election management practice, candidates whose details were entered after the deadline of 21h00 cannot and will not be accepted but candidates captured before and up to 21h00 will be taken as duly submitted. This is facilitated through the date and time stamp which is a component of the online candidate nomination system.

The affected candidates who were captured during the 34 minutes before the online system actually closed are 74.

On Friday, 27 August 2021, the Chief Electoral Officer will notify political parties of any non-compliance that may have arisen. In this regard, contestants will have until Monday, 30 August 2021, to correct the non-compliance.

Furthermore, on 31 August 2021 parties will be notified of candidates who may be appearing on multiple party lists. Parties may choose to remove such candidates and re-order lists by 2 September 2021. 3 | P a g e

The final lists of candidates will be certified and published on 7 September 2021. This date will mark the conclusion point of the candidate nomination process and the ballot paper production process will then be able to commence. Certified candidates will be issued with certificates on 13 September 2021.

Lastly, we experienced protests by members of a political party here at Election House yesterday. We wish to indicate that the Commission is not entrusted responsibility to mediate internal party disputes. Parties are urged to set processes to manage internal disputes. The Commission thus condemn protests action direct at it in circumstances where it has no lawful role it can play in internecine party disputes.

  • This is an unedited media release from the Electoral Commission issued on 24 August 2021.

Friday may see snow in high-lying areas of EC

August 24, 2021

Strong winds followed by snow in high-lying areas of the Eastern Cape from Friday, predicts the SOUTH AFRICAN WEATHER SERVICE

An intense cold front associated with a steep upper-air trough, currently developing over the western Atlantic Ocean, will affect the western parts of the country on Thursday and Friday, spreading to the southern and central parts on Saturday. Rainy and very cold conditions with snow on the high-lying areas will set in over the western parts of the Western Cape from Thursday afternoon, 26 August 2021, spreading to the western and southern parts of the Northern Cape and the remainder of the Western Cape overnight into Friday, 27 August 2021.

Figure 1: Satellite image for Tuesday, 24 August 2021, indicating the approaching cold front, located over the western Atlantic Ocean. Source: Eumetsat (2021).

Following a fairly settled week for the western parts of the country, a cold front together with an associated upper-air trough is expected to affect the Western Cape and Northern Cape, mainly from Thursday afternoon through to Saturday. At the same time, this weather system will encroach eastwards into the Eastern Cape province from Friday afternoon as well as the central interior of South Africa, including KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday, 28 August 2021.

Widespread rainfall will set in over the western parts of the Western Cape on Thursday afternoon, spreading to the western and southern parts of the Northern Cape overnight. Rainfall accumulations of 20 to 30 mm can be expected, with heavier falls, of the order of 40 to 50 mm expected over the south-western Cape (refer Figure 2). This rainfall may lead to localised flooding of informal settlements. Moreover, such flooding may also pose a distinct risk to safe driving on major roads. Motorists driving under such conditions are advised to reduce speed (especially under conditions of reduced or impaired visibility) and to observe safe following distances.

Figure 2: 24-hour rainfall accumulation in mm for Thursday (left) and Friday (right). Source: GFS model provided by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Figure 3: Predicted maximum temperatures for Friday (left) and Saturday (right). Source: GFS model provided by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Very cold conditions are expected from Friday (refer Figure 3) over the south-western quadrant of the country, spreading to include much of the southern and central interior regions of South Africa by Saturday, 28 August 2021.

Snowfall is expected over the high-lying areas of the Western Cape and the southern and western high- lying areas of the Northern Cape, mainly from Friday spreading to the high-lying areas of the Eastern Cape and the Drakensberg region of KwaZulu-Natal during Saturday. Significant lowering of local atmospheric freezing levels is anticipated over the aforementioned areas, allowing for disruptive snowfall in some places. This may result in the closure of some mountain passes and cause traffic disruptions. Small stock farmers are advised to move their smaller livestock to shelter at an early stage to mitigate losses, ahead of the arrival of the winter weather.

Prior to landfall of the approaching cold front, strong winds (40 to 60 km/h) are likely to occur over parts of the interior of South Africa. Such strong, gusty winds may cause difficulties for high-sided vehicles along major routes, especially over the interior of the Western Cape, the interior of the Eastern Cape, the Northern Cape, western Free State and the western parts of the North West province from Thursday into Friday. In addition, the public are urged to exercise caution and to refrain from lighting fires in the open and/ or discarding lit cigarettes or matches. The combination of strong, gusty winds and abundant fuel (in the form of dry, frost-affected grass and brush) is likely to promote conditions conducive to the rapid ignition and spreading of veld fires, ahead of the cold front.

The South African Weather Service will issue a further media release later this week, to provide greater detail regarding this rapidly developing weather system (such as when and where the more significant snowfalls can be anticipated). The accuracy of predictions provided by numeric weather prediction (NWP) models typically improves significantly as the lead-time shortens. SAWS therefore urge the public to be circumspect when considering long lead-time weather predictions from unproven and irregular sources. Such products are typically designed to cause panic, rather than to advise and inform.

The South African Weather Service will continue to monitor any further developments relating to this weather system and will issue subsequent updates as required. Furthermore, the public are urged and encouraged to regularly follow weather forecasts on television and radio. Updated information in this regard will regularly be available at www.weathersa.co.za as well as via the SA Weather Service Twitter account @SAWeatherServic

Compiled by Wayne Venter and edited by Kevin Rae.

  • This is an unedited media release from the South African Weather Service on 24 August 2021.