28/01/2018 05:15 GMT | Updated 28/01/2018 05:15 GMT

Zille: SA Weather Service 'Shouldn't Try To Deny What They Predicted'

"I did not blame them for getting it wrong. I said it is HARD to get right in conditions of climate change," said Zille.

Adrian de Kock/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images
Premier Helen Zille and Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane address a crowd at the Joseph Stone Auditorium in Athlone on January 24, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa.

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille says the South African Weather Service (SAWS) should not deny its predictions regarding rainfall in the province.

Zille tweeted a picture of the service's prediction for Winter 2017 forecasting normal rainfall.

The picture shows that the south western part of the province was expected to experience above normal rainfall.

"I did not blame them for getting it wrong. I said it is HARD to get right in conditions of climate change. They shouldn't try to deny what they predicted," she tweeted on Saturday.

On Thursday, Zille told the BBC Newsnight that the weather service told her that their "models don't work anymore in an era of climate change".

Zille said the drought could never have been foreseen.

"The climate change projections were to have hit us in 2025, they came 10 years before that, this is very real and very challenging and we all need to pull together when the experts can't predict anything anymore," she said.

However, the service hit back and said: "The Premier's statement is disingenuous and extremely opportunistic coming as it does in the midst of a water crisis."

The service said in a statement this week that Zille only had one briefing from them, adding that it had discussions with her and requested her to refrain from casting "aspersions" on its work.

The service added that it had offered Zille access to all weather information and resources to enable her to speak from a position of "knowledge rather than speculation".

"The Premier must appreciate that she is not a Meteorologist nor a Scientist, therefore we would be interested to know who her sources on climate change and the role of weather services are," the service said.

'A cop-out for policy inaction'

"Blaming the weather, or climate and the Weather Service is a cop-out for policy inaction and ineptitude in implementation of multidisciplinary research and reports that have long pointed to the water challenge in the country, the Western Cape and in Cape Town."

On Friday, Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane urged the provincial government to take responsibility in dealing with the water crisis, rather than blame the national government.

Mokonyane was reacting to remarks by Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane and Zille who said the responsibility for bulk water supply lay with her ministry.

She said there has simply been no rain in the Cape, and so provincial and local governments should have handled reticulation better.

-- News24