Heat wave to persist this week over South African maize belt

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Heat-wave conditions that are scorching much of South Africa's maize-growing areas are expected to persist until Friday or Saturday, the South African Weather Service said on Tuesday. The extremely hot weather is being experienced in Gauteng province, where the commercial capital Johannesburg is located, Mpumalanga province in the north east, and the North West province, which form a major part of the maize belt. Northern Limpopo province has also been affected. South Africa is in the throes of the worst drought since the end of apartheid rule two decades ago and last season's maize crop was a third lower because of the weather. (Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by James Macharia)