Residents object to cellphone mast plan

By asanda sokanyile Time of article published Aug 12, 2016

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TWO applications to the City of Cape Town for cellphone masts in Kommetjie have sparked panic and concerns about possible associated health risks.

The research isn’t conclusive on how safe base telecommunications stations are, but Kommetjie residents say they’re not prepared to take chances.

According to the city’s telecommunication mast infrastructure policy document, the “council must satisfy itself that it is addressing its responsibility, its duties towards its community placed upon it, in this case its obligation to provide a safe and healthy environment and to promote the economic well-being of the municipal area”.

The residents, however, say they believe everything but their health and safety has been taken into consideration.

There has also been insufficient consultation from the city, said the group’s spokesman, who did not want to be named.

“It seems to me that these two cellphone mast applications in Kommetjie residential area are hoping to be processed before the new policy comes into effect. We are very concerned at having a cellphone mast within 20m of our houses, where the City of Cape Town telecommunication policy recommends a distance of 50m,” he said.

Residents said only 22 of 100 households in the area received notification of the application.

The city countered that it had notified residents in the form of “advertising via registered mail”.

City of Cape Town spokeswoman Priya Reddy also confirmed receiving objections to both the applications by MTN.

Reddy said there had been health-related complaints relating to masts being too close to residential areas, or within residential areas, but did not indicate whether these would be relevant in the current applications.

In 2011, citing risks of electromagnetic radiation, an Eldorado Park school governing body chairman cancelled a contract with Cell C which, according to media reports, “would provide a guaranteed income”.

According to reports, teachers threatened to leave the school if the mast went up.

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