The South African Weather Service (SAWS) has distanced itself from a “misleading hoax” that is doing the rounds on social media, especially WhatsApp. The fake message is a doctored version of an older interview the weather service did when a tropical storm was battering the continent earlier in 2021.


SAWS released a statement on Thursday, 14 September, which warned that an isiZulu voice note was being spread on social media.

The message seems to suggest that South Africa will be hit by a cyclone. The weather service said the voice note is an adapted version of an interview the SAWS did earlier this year when Tropical Cyclone Eloise formed and affected southern Africa in January 2021.

“This is a misleading hoax message [which is] completely unfounded,” said SAWS.

Tropical Cyclone Eloise formed on 14 January and dissipated on 25 January 2021. The storm made landfall in Madagascar on 19 January and over the next few days, it would affect several nearby countries, including Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Eswatini.

At least 27 people died because of the severe weather and 11 were reported missing. At least 10 of those fatalities were in South Africa.

Limpopo was the worst-hit province with some areas in the Vhembe District receiving more than 150mm of rainfall in less than 16 hours.

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