South Africa: Climate Change or Incapable State? What's Really Going Down With the Weather in the Eastern Cape


In the past few days, Maverick Citizen has carried a series of frontline reports on how communities are coping (or not) with the severe drought in the Eastern Cape. The question on many people's lips is 'What's going on? Why is the weather behaving like this and what can we do about it?' To try to answer this, we spoke to meteorologists and climate experts.

Is there a drought in the Eastern Cape?

No one disputes that this is a severe drought.

According to Garth Sampson, spokesperson for the Port Elizabeth office of the South African Weather Service:

"We have to get the message across. It's dire. It's not going to go away. Lots of records are being broken... The 3.0mm measured in August was the driest August for 120 years. Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) is fast heading for the first time that four years in a row rainfall is below 500mm."

The average is 635mm.

Sampson adds: "What makes the situation worse is the metro gets the majority of its rain in winter. We would now have to wait for around March/April before we can expect decent rain, according to statistics."

Sampson says the forecast for rain is below...

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