The front section of the roof of this house in Chiappini Street in the Bo-Kaap was blown off. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
The front section of the roof of this house in Chiappini Street in the Bo-Kaap was blown off. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)

Strong winds hold up internet cable repair ship, roofs damaged in several suburbs

By Lisa Isaacs Time of article published Jan 20, 2020

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Cape Town – The repair of underwater cables that failed and left parts of the continent with slow internet will have to wait for Cape Town’s weather to improve.

Strong winds have battered the Cape over the past few days, trapping the cable repair ship due to effect repairs on the West Africa Cable System (WACS).

Weather forecasts suggested the wind may only subside today.

The South Atlantic 3 (SAT-3) undersea fibre cable was damaged near Libreville, Gabon, while WACS was damaged near the Congolese coast, causing slow internet speeds across parts of Africa.

South African users reported problems with MTN’s and Vodafone’s networks. The SA National Research and Education Network tweeted yesterday that the cable repair vessel was still in Cape Town.

The cable ship was expected to complete the loading of WACS and SAT-3 equipment over the weekend, departing from Cape Town to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Web company Amphibic Design said: “Service providers are diverting traffic through another undersea cable, SEACOM/EASSy, which runs alongside the eastern coast of Africa.

“This ensures that South Africans can still access the internet, but it is also slowing internet access. It is unclear when the cables will be operational again.

“Both the WACS and SAT3 cables providing international connectivity between South Africa and international locations were knocked out on Thursday.

“These breaks are having a major impact on internet connectivity.”

“The WACS cable lands in South Africa at Yzerfontein in the Western Cape and the SAT3/WASC system enters the country at Melkbosstrand.

“The break is in the Libreville, Gabon, vicinity and that WACS break is in the vicinity of Luanda and the DRC.

“Repair ships will be dispatched to attend to the breaks.”

Internet service provider Afrihost tweeted on Saturday that users on its network would experience intermittent access to sites.

It confirmed yesterday that upstream providers reported that adverse weather delayed departure of the ship to repair the cables.

Meanwhile, the City’s disaster risk management spokesperson, Charlotte Powell, said roofs had been damaged by strong winds in Fresnaye, Bo-Kaap, Bonteheuwel, Bomakierie, Masassar, Philippi and Sea Point.

“Electricity disruptions are being experienced in Pinelands, Bridgetown, Wynberg, Parow, Richmond Estate, Bellville, Seapoint, Strand, Claremont, Heideveld and Three Anchor Bay.

“Large trees were uprooted in Gordon’s Bay, Newlands, Mowbray, Rylands and Bonteheuwel,” Powell said.

No injuries were reported.

For non-emergency service requests call 0860 103 089. Call 021 480 7700 from a cellphone or 107 from a landline for emergencies.

Cape Times

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