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Snow causes travel havoc in South Africa

Parts of South Africa on Tuesday transformed into a winter wonderland, but the cold and frosty weather caused travel havoc as major highways and railways closed down.

“Most of the interior in the Eastern Cape and high grounds of KwaZulu-Natal are covered in snow, which have caused some roads to be closed. Conditions should improve tomorrow (Wednesday) as we are not expecting further snowfall except in KwaZulu-Natal,” said Tshepo Ngobeni of the national weather service.

Major routes between Johannesburg, Africa’s richest city, and Durban, the continent’s busiest port, were closed.

“We are urging road users, particularly those who intend travelling between Johannesburg and Durban, to postpone their trips until the snow subsides and weather conditions improve,” transport minister Sibusiso Ndebele said.

The army was called in to assist motorists stuck in the snow along main N3 highway to Durban, Ndebele said in a statement.

Trains running from Gauteng, the province that includes Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria, cancelled their trips because of the snow, said the country’s rail agency.

“All trains from Gauteng to Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal will be affected and will result in the cancellation of services,” spokesman Leonard Potgieter said.

Parts of South Africa receive snow every winter, but Ngobeni said the weather service doesn’t measure the snowfall, making comparisons with previous years difficult.