eThekwini says it never approved cell mast plan
DURBAN - Security guards have been placed at a cell mast, not 5G, following an attempt to set it alight on Monday in Emachobeni in Inanda, north of Durban.
This was according to a Vodacom spokesperson, who said given recent developments, they had deployed security personnel to patrol the site.
“This forms part of our efforts to ramp up the fight against site vandalism. We are also implementing new measures to make sure the thieves are caught and prosecuted. We lose millions of rand in damage to our base stations annually because of theft and vandalism. But more important than the monetary impact, criminals are cutting off entire communities.
“Vodacom repeatedly sees situations where communities cannot make emergency calls and are put in danger by these criminals and sooner or later, these criminals will cost someone’s life. Crucially, the number one line of defence against vandalism is the local community.
’’Therefore, we would like to appeal to ordinary members of the community to report incidents of site vandalism by calling our toll-free number: 082 241 9952 or SAPS on 10111.”
Last week, the Daily News reported that residents in the area were angry that the cellphone tower had been set up without consultation with them and they threatened to cut it down if it was not removed from the area.
According to residents the tower has resulted in their networks not working properly and affected how their television sets operated, and they were scared of the high-radio frequencies that come from the tower.
Vodacom has since said that it did not build the site and were leasing it from telecommunications tower company Kopano. Programme manager for Kopano, Jacques Roux, last week said he could not comment until this week as he was on leave and needed to consult with his colleagues.
Yesterday he said the company was still not in a position to respond.
eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said there was no approved plan for the cell tower and therefore no Occupation Certificate was issued. He said that last Wednesday a building inspector carried out a site visit and action had been taken accordingly.
“A contravention notice was served, awaiting expiry prior to enforcement action being taken (fine). A second notice will be issued and if they are still non-compliant the matter will be adjudicated in the Magistrate’s Court.
“Please note that a structured process will need to be followed in line with applicable legislation.”
A resident who did not want to be named said residents were still angry and wanted the tower removed, especially with the city having said that it should not have been put there.
“People are angry. We had expected that after last week’s article we would get answers, but we were still in the dark,” he said.