Cellphone tower
Cellphone tower

Durban residents to meet over cellphone towers

By Arthi Gopi Time of article published Mar 3, 2018

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DURBAN - DURBAN residents have been called to air their views over the roll-out of controversial cellphone towers around the city in a meeting with municipal officials and cellphone giant MTN.

Durban Anti-Cellmast Alliance spokesperson Niki Moore said she had arranged a meeting at the Stella Sports Club on Tuesday at 5.30pm, and hoped the problems could be resolved.

“The issue began towards the end of 2016 when residents began seeing massive concrete masts being erected in parks and on traffic islands across the city.  The city spokesman, in reply to queries from ward councillors and residents at the time, explained that these were ‘camera towers’, being erected for CCTV anti-crime cameras. However, it turned out that the concrete towers were actually cellular masts, purpose-built by MTN to house their infrastructure roll-out in Durban,” said Moore.

Now, the group has called a community meeting and invited MTN chief executive Rob Shuter to attend.

MTN spokesperson Jacqui O’Sullivan said it would respond to the issue once it had a “final and officially-approved solution in hand”. 

“They really need to answer to the community. We have information that the towers do not even meet the electrical requirements, so they should be switched off. The community deserves answers. The city has committed to send officials from the legal and the planning departments, and we will ask them what action will be taken, and not accept any vague response,” she said.

Moore added that the company and the city needed to explain how 123 masts were put up on municipal land in Durban without complying with any of the city’s land-use or spatial planning regulations or by-laws. 

“It is inconceivable that a private company can undertake a massive infrastructure project in a city, without obeying any by-laws or regulations, and then announce that they have been excused any compliance because of a private and secret agreement with an individual council employee, apparently acting in his personal capacity. How can such a deal not be corrupt?” she said.

For further information, contact Moore at 031 205 8331 if you would like to be added to the speaker list.

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