Parliamentary Question: DAFF: SAWS


Mr G R Morgan (DA) to ask the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs:
(1) Whether, since the formal establishment of the South African Weather Services (SAWS), (a) any of its employees have visited Libya on official business, (b) it assisted Libya in any way in obtaining radar technology and (c) it contributed financially to Libya obtaining this technology; if not, what is the position in each case; if so, what are the relevant details in each case;
(2) what was the radar technology intended to be used for?

Mr G R Morgan (DA)




(1)(a) Yes. The first time South African Weather Service (SAWS), then Weather Bureau, had contact with the Libyan Meteorological Service on weather modification was in the late 1990s. A four man delegation visited the Bethlehem Precipitation Research Program to gain knowledge for establishing a program within Libya. SAWS had no further contact with Libya until 2010.

On 11-17 December 2010 a SAWS employee visited Libya. This trip was on request of Selex Gematronik (Germany), the suppliers of new weather radar systems to South Africa, to assist them as a sub-contractor in the deployment of a Weather Radar for the Libyan Meteorological Service Weather Modification project.
(b) No. Libya has three weather radar systems in Tripoli. The first one is an old EEC C-Band weather radar at the Tripoli airport which is in a state of decommissioning. The second is a Selex Gematronik C-Band weather radar installed at the Meteorological Service offices. It is about 3 to 4 years old and similar to the S-Band weather radar systems now being deployed by the South African Weather Service. The third one is a Selex Gematronik Mobile X-Band weather radar for which assistance was needed in setting up and configuring the TITAN Free Ware software specifically in support of cloud seeding operations. They previously used the old EEC weather radar with TITAN for cloud seeding and French scientists were involved in setting up TITAN the first time.

SAWS’s assistance enabled a more flexible use of the mobile weather radar for cloud seeding purposes in Libya.
(c) No, SAWS did not contribute financially and this was a pure commercial project of sourcing out SAWS skills as a consultancy service. SAWS was a formal subcontractor to Selex Gematronic.
(2)The installation and configuration of the TITAN weather radar software was for cloud seeding purposes. The Libyan Meteorological Service has a well established weather modification department focusing on rainfall enhancement consisting of ten members with experience of more than 10 years.