SA is in for a cold, wet winter

The long-range weather forecaster of the South African Weather Service, Dr Willem Landman, said higher than normal rainfall is expected for the southwestern Cape, because of an expected increase in the frequency of cold fronts.
Issue date: 06 June 2008

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The long-range weather forecaster of the South African Weather Service, Dr Willem Landman, said higher than normal rainfall is expected for the southwestern Cape, because of an expected increase in the frequency of cold fronts.

These frontal systems will also influence the weather over the rest of the country and colder than normal temperatures are expected over the larger areas. Dr Landman said below-average temperatures can be expected from about July and could continue until early spring. Little or no rain usually occurs over the predominantly summer rainfall areas during winter, but there seems to be a possibility of rain during the winter months over the far northeastern parts of the country, which include Limpopo and Mpumalanga. S ome rain is also expected over Namibia and Botswana during the winter months, with below-average temperatures expected over the southern regions. The northern halves of both can expect a mild winter. – Annelie Coleman

Farm attackers turn on each other

In a bizarre TWIST, TWO alleged farm attackers were arrested after they reportedly turned on each other and shot one another, soon after attacking a farming couple in the Harburg area of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

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According to police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram, two men armed with handguns entered the home of Moray Norton (50) on his Laager Farm and demanded money from him. W ith Moray held at gunpoint the two criminals then confronted his wife, Debra, and forced her to open the bedroom safe, where they discovered that there was no money.

“Debra was subsequently assaulted with the butt of a gun by the two suspects, who continued demanding money,” said Budhram. “She managed to get together about R1 000 from the office and handed it over to the suspects, who then fled. The couple alerted the police and a local security company and their investigations led them to arrest one of the suspects hiding near a cliff. “It was discovered that the suspect had gunshot wounds to the legs and when questioned, he told authorities he had been shot by his accomplice. 9mm handgun with ammunition was found in this suspect’s possession.” Budhram concluded.

Further investigations led to the arrest of the second suspect after he was found at his home in the region’s Mqeku area. This suspect was also found with gunshot wounds to the legs and he alleged that he was also shot by his accomplice. Budhram said that a 9mm handgun and ammunition were recovered from this suspect. “Both suspects were taken to hospital and placed under police guard,” Budhram concluded. – Lloyd Phillips

Voermol joins the stock theft battle

The efforts of the farmer-funded and -managed Swartberg Stocktheft Prevention Association (SSPA), based in this hotspot area in KwaZulu-Natal, recently received a valuable boost from livestock feed company, Voermol. The latter has pledged to donate R15 000 a year over three years to the association to help cover the cost of installing high-frequency and long-distance radios in neighbouring Lesotho. “Since members of the SSPA have begun communicating with the Basotho farmers at regular meetings and via radio, cross-border stock theft has been phenomenally reduced,” SSPA spokesperson Shannon Gilson said.

“Only 16 cattle belonging to our members are still unrecovered from the period of March 2007 to February 2008, but all stolen sheep have been recovered.” Patrols along the South Africa/Lesotho border in KZN, initiated by the in 1998, have considerably reduced stock theft from the region, but the association said this is due to the positive impact of improved communication with the Basotho farmers. Radio communication has been the cornerstone of stock theft prevention in the area and the SSPA currently owns nine base stations in Lesotho, two in the Swartberg, and one each in Ntsikeni, Ndawana and Maluti. base station costs about R15 000 to install. – Lloyd Phillips

Lloyd Phillips joined Farmer’s Weekly in January 2003 and is now a Senior Journalist with the publication. He spent most of his childhood on a Zululand sugarcane farm where he learned to speak fluent Zulu. After matriculating in 1993, Lloyd dreamed of working as a nature conservationist. Life’s vagaries, however, had different plans for him and Lloyd ended up sampling various jobs in South African agriculture before becoming a proud member of the Farmer’s Weekly team. Lloyd still thoroughly enjoys learning and writing about all aspects of national and international agriculture. He lives in Mooi River, KwaZulu-Natal, with his wife, Leigh, son, Matthew, daughter, Sydney, and their much-loved domesticated menagerie.