South African Internet Speeds Halted Due to Undersea Cable Damage

South African Internet Speeds Slow Down Due to Undersea Cable Break

Don’t bother restarting your modem. It isn’t your internet, the whole of SA is dealing with it. South African internet speeds have suddenly dipped following a WACS (West African Cable System) and SAT-3 (South Atlantic 3) cable breakage.

The damage was first reported on Sunday evening when users started complaining about slow and sluggish internet speeds. Network status reports confirmed that on Sunday morning, the SAT-3 cable lost connectivity and the WACS followed soon after.

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Further investigation on the breakage confirmed that the damage was caused by a rock fall in the Congo Canyon – a massive submarine canyon found off the coast of Congo. It is the largest undersea canyon in the world.

As a result of the breakage, a cable repair ship known as the Léon Thévenin was sent out to begin repairs. According to Marine Vessel Traffic, the ship is currently docked at Mombasa, Kenya and is currently listed as “restricted manoeuvrability”.

This is not a good sign because it means the ship hasn’t moved since it arrived at 17:13 yesterday afternoon. It originally left Cape Town on 3 August and is now en route to the breakage spot just off the coast of Congo. I can only assume it has to turn around and return to Cape Town to go up the West Coast of Africa towards Congo.

At the moment there’s no ETA for the fix. The repair vessel is way off from its destination and it will likely take a few weeks to get to where it needs to be. We can only hope that in the time being, internet traffic is rerouted to help the situation.

I have noticed some slow internet issues myself. iCloud uploads were incredibly slow last night. Diablo 4 was also very laggy (which is all the time so maybe not related to this breakage). Not to mention Steam downloads were also sluggish.

You can track the vessel’s trip on the Marine Vessel Traffic site here.

This breakage is very similar to the one back in 2020. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, South Africa suffered a three-week outage which affected the majority of the country’s internet speeds.

Source: Telecompaper

Marco is the owner and founder of GLITCHED. South Africa’s largest gaming and pop culture website. GLITCHED quickly established itself with tech and gaming enthusiasts with on-point opinions, quick coverage of breaking events and unbiased reviews across its website, social platforms, and YouTube channel.


  • Pierre 8 August 2023

    Typo of 28 Aug

  • Barry Austin 10 August 2023

    Do you know why a speedtest to a US server still shows that nothing is wrong, yet the sites are all slow? Or is it the throttling that is the issue. And if it is this, how can one test how much you are being throttled?

    • Marco Cocomello 10 August 2023

      I have noticed this too. Even though my tests are fine, various speed issues are showing on sites, games and downloads. I think the same thing happened last time to be honest. Must have something to do with the rerouting taking place.

  • Lize 10 August 2023

    I appreciate this piece so much, because it explains why I haven’t been able to play Diablo IV for a week now! I’ve tried everything and it is still laggy and glitchy AF. Thanks for posting this!

    • Marco Cocomello 11 August 2023

      Diablo 4 has been hit hard by this. A lot of people complaining bout rubber banding and other network hiccups. Glad to help!

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