Many South Africans would’ve noticed a slow internet connection for the past two weeks and this is due to breaks in undersea cables.

A number of internet service providers such as Afrihost, Axxess and WebAfrica recently reported that South African users would be experiencing major disruptions with their internet connection. This especially affects users who are trying to access international sites.

The reason for this is that last week, two network undersea cables (SAT3 and WACS) broke off the coast of Gabon. These cables connect to the UK and have affected internet connection in South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon and Ivory Coast.

To make matters worse, the Leon Thevenin repair ship that is meant to fix the undersea cables, was stuck at Cape Town harbour due to strong winds. This means the slow internet connection problem will persist for another two weeks according to reports.

Afrihost posted a statement that read: “Our network team report that they are continuing to monitor the network and are optimising where possible to improve our client’s internet experience. We’d like to thank clients for their continued patience during this outage.”

“At present, there have been no significant changes, and our network engineers are monitoring closely. They will continue to test and optimise through the night for the best experience.”

The South African National Research and Education Network (SA NREN) confirmed that the cable repair vessel departed yesterday (Wednesday, 22 January at 6 pm)

Many service providers across the nation purchased international bandwidth to restore internet services to as close to normal as possible. Some people, however, are still experiencing poor connectivity across the country.

Former Johannesburg mayor, Herman Mashaba, tweeted that South Africa needs to work with the African Union to secure internet to Africa as “our economy and jobs are impacted when we don’t have internet.”

Web company Amphibic Design said over the weekend: “Service providers are diverting traffic through another undersea cable, SEACOM/EASSY, which runs alongside the eastern coast of Africa.”

This would allow South Africans to still have some internet connectivity while the repair is happening. According to SA NREN, the repair ship would take six days to dock at the location of the breakage and fixing the break will take an additional week.

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