Concerns over severe weather or air pollution-related warning provisions of the current South African Weather Service Amendment Bill
12 Jan 2012
In May 2011, the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs published the South African Weather Service Amendment Bill for public comment. Having taken into account the few public comments, a revised bill was introduced in the National Assembly of Parliament and an explanatory summary of the bill was published at the end of September last year.
Although the formal public comment period on the initial draft Bill closed some time ago, the bill is now being considered by Parliament and Parliament is planning to hold public hearings in the next few weeks.
Over the last two weeks, the amendments to the South African Weather Service (SAWS) Act proposed in the SAWS Amendment Bill appear to have become the subject of concern.
In particular, the concerns appear to relate specifically to a proposed provision that prohibits the issue of "...a severe weather or air pollution-related warning without the necessary written permission from the Weather Service" and especially the possible penalty of up to R10 million or 10 years imprisonment for persons found guilty of contravening this provision.