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Government websites crash thanks to power outages

"Site under maintenance" was the message displayed on some government websites affected by power outages.
"Site under maintenance" was the message displayed on some government websites affected by power outages.
Image: gcis.gov.za

Ongoing load-shedding and power outages saw some government websites in SA go offline on Thursday.

The State Information Technology Agency (Sita) said it was working to get affected sites up and running again.

Several websites, including the Government Communication and Information System, Home Affairs and the presidency, displayed error messages or said they were down for maintenance earlier in the day.

Sita on Thursday said that glitches started at about 2am when the municipal power feed to its Centurion premises was lost, causing its data centre to go offline.

“Sita's backup generators were functioning but a fault was experienced on the static circuit breakers that are highly sensitive to voltage irregularities.

“To mitigate the risk from high voltage fluctuations, Sita had notified the relevant authorities in Tshwane to route electricity from a secondary substation but unfortunately, this was not possible and the primary substation feed to Sita's Centurion office was only functional again at 9.10am this morning,” the agency said.

Sita said load-shedding had contributed immensely to the problems.

“Sita has been severely affected by the electricity outages and sustained periods of unprecedented load-shedding. The ongoing load-shedding, with the consequential voltage fluctuations, has placed excessive and undue strain on the electrical and mechanical equipment.

“The continuous days of rolling blackouts have had a very negative effect on services in the ICT sector, given the complex and sensitive nature of the equipment, particularly in data centres.” 

Sita said the affected data centre in Centurion did not house all of its systems.

It apologised for the inconvenience and said it was doing all it could to fix the issues.

“Sita remains committed to its mandate of providing high-quality ICT services to all South Africans and will be working to find solutions that ensure that, even with increased load-shedding and voltage fluctuations, the system remains operational,” it said.