Some Durban communities against cellphone towers

We don’t want cellphone towers. A common chorus in some Durban neighbourhoods. Courtesy #DStv403

DURBAN - Some Durban communities are up in arms over the erection of cell masts in their neighbourhoods.

Despite the need for improved network connectivity, communities say the towers are a health hazard.

In July, the Communications and Digital Technologies minister gazetted a new policy that would give mobile networks the right to choose, enter, and use public or private land for their infrastructure.

The proposed policy has also received much criticism.

READ: Cell tower battery theft linked to signal loss

In Westville, a 30-metre tower is the talk of the town for the wrong reasons.

“My first concern is that there was inadequate public consultation especially given that the cell mast is in access of 15m," said Renee Rahaman, a Westville resident.

"My second concern is that I did not get enough information with regard to the technology that will be used in the cell mast”.

However, the Proportional Representative Councillor in the area says town planning regulations were followed and only six people were opposed.

Another cellphone tower, this time in Wentworth, has also caused an upset.

READ: Costly impact of load-shedding on mobile networks

Environmental activist Desmond D'Sa says the erection of these towers has a negative effect on the public.

“Not only do they deprive people from having a quality of life, they impact on your life through the emittance of radiation," D'Sa said.

"Radiation is no joke, radiation is serious and it does cause cancer and other illnesses that are associated with the emittance of radiation."

If Government gets its way with the new draft policy, which aims to accelerate the deployment of electronic communications networks, such as LTE and 5G networks, many more of these towers will be standing tall where they are not welcome.


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