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Residents victorious over cellphone mast

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Residents of Pinetowns have emerged as victors in their battle against the installation of an MTN cellphone mast. File Photo: Tracey Adams

Durban - Residents of Pinetown’s Cowies Hill Park have emerged as victors in their battle against the installation of an MTN cellphone mast in their suburb.

The Mercury reported last year that the residents had been told MTN had applied for permission to erect the tower in Sanderson Road.

On Monday, resident Callen Morrison said residents had received a letter from MTN withdrawing their application.

“We are so happy with the outcome… It was more then 18 months of stress since we found out about the application. My neighbours were looking for homes in other suburbs, people also stopped plans for renovations… because we did not know what was going to happen.”

Morrison said they had been successful because the residents had rallied together.

She said residents had objected to the erection of the 20m mast because of possible health risks based on the World Health Organisation report released last year, which classified cellphone usage as “possibly carcinogenic” to humans.

She said that there was added concern as the tower would have been in close proximity to a school for autistic children, a day care centre and Pinetown Boys’ High School.

The residents provided alternative commercial sites for the mast, but MTN rejected these and in July, the installation was approved by the municipality.

Residents took the matter on appeal to the Town Planning Appeals Board and Allan Leaver, who had signed a contract with MTN for the mast to be erected on his property, also withdrew his approval.

Ward councillor Tim Brauteseth said on Monday that the residents’ quick action had been important.

“It is a… win for the people in a David vs Goliath situation,” he said.

“It was important that the residents were willing to pay legal fees to take on MTN.”

MTN’s Bridget Bhengu confirmed on Monday that the withdrawal of the application had been based on the network’s decision to “listen and consider the views of the community”. - The Mercury


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