HEALTH concerns will not be entertained as a reason not to erect a cellphone mast.
This is according to Democratic Alliance PR councillor, Riona Gokool.
“The town planning appeals committee met with a group of Mobile Network Operators (cellphone companies) and companies who only build cell masts and then rent out the space to inform us about the industry,” said Gokool.
With the increase of users and the increase in the number of devices that require data connections, the need for infrastructure increases.
Earlier, masts were able to reach a much wider radius because they dealt primarily with voice communication.
The introduction of 5G, which will offer much higher speeds, will greatly exacerbate this situation and increase the need for more towers.
A mast providing 5G may only have between 200m to 500m radial coverage.
At this point in time there are no proven health risks attached to close proximity to a cellphone mast according to the World Health Organisation and the South African Government.
The City of eThekwini will not be considering health effects of any particular mast when adjudicating appeals and objections.
“If your chief concern in objecting to a cell mast is the health concern, you will be wasting your R5 000 appeal fee. However, it is a resident’s constitutional right to appeal and the decision rests with the individual whether to appeal or not,” said Gokool. “The municipality will take your R5 000 regardless.”
There are other very relevant issues, however, on which you can appeal. These appeals must be based on scientifically proven facts or justified town planning reasons.
“The DA in eThekwini will continue to vote against the erection of the cell towers until the following criteria are met or reasonable and unbiased information is provided: The City must conduct an independent study into the health effects of cell towers; the City must conduct an independent study into the impacts of cell towers on property values and the City must provide an updated and comprehensive policy on telecommunications infrastructure in the city,” concluded Gokool.
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