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Cellphone mast a hazard, say residents

Durban - Residents of a Durban suburb are up in arms over the construction of a 25m high cellphone mast in the area, saying they had not been consulted about the development which could affect their health and devalue properties.

Woodlands residents said that after work started on an MTN cellphone mast on a private property in Doddington Crescent last month, they wrote to eThekwini Municipality complaining they had not been involved in the process.

Some Woodlands residents fear for the health of their children after construction began on a cellphone mast in the south Durban suburb. Picture: Zanele Zulu. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Doddington Crescent residents signed a petition and submitted it to the city’s planning department.

However, eThekwini spokesperson, Thabo Mofokeng, said all the required processes were followed before the installation was approved.

MTN spokeswoman Mamello Raborifi, said all residents the municipality identified as interested and affected parties during the public participation process – which forms part of the municipal special consent application – were consulted.

“An advert in The Mercury on January 21, 2011 and registered letters were distributed to all residents identified as interested and affected parties,” she said.

Raborifi said it had taken MTN eight years to obtain all four construction permits required for the project.

Sandisile Mnguni, who lives a stone’s throw from the house where the mast has been erected, said she had never received a letter or an approach from her neighbour informing her of the construction.

Another resident, Richard Geddie, said he had received a letter from eThekwini notifying him of the special consent application and calling for objections. “I immediately wrote to the municipality telling them I was objecting but that was not considered,” he said.

In his objection letter, Geddie said: “It is unsightly; it devalues the surrounding property and it is a health hazard.”

Ward councillor Billie Prinsloo said the residents were over-reacting.

“If there was any danger, they (MTN) would not have put it near to their houses,” she said.

“All procedures have been followed and, as a councillor, there is nothing I can do now,” she said. - The Mercury

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