By Karen Kotze Jul 30, 2020
A government draft policy, if passed, will allow mobile networks to build 5G electronic communication infrastructure on your property without compensation.
The draft submitted by Department of Communication and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams appears in Gazette No. 43537 dated Wednesday July 22.
It says property owners could be held liable for the cost of repairing the infrastructure if it’s found they didn’t show due care in preventing damage to it.
The policy is intended to pave the way for LTE and 5G infrastructure, giving mobile networks and other licensees permission to install it on any public or private land they so choose.
Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams said all spheres of government should push the rapid deployment of electronic communications networks and facilities, seen as critical for the country’s participation in the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Retired Anglican bishop Geoff Davies from Kalk Bay and founder of the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute, who is known as “The Green Bishop”, said without getting into the debate around the merits or demerits of 5G he was shocked the policy would permit network companies to put up 5G masts wherever they saw fit.
“So what of an historical conservation area like Kalk Bay? What of my rights as a property owner who would be devastated if a 5G mast was planted in my garden, or if I believed there were negative health impacts from 5G? The government can simply not override the rights of its citizens in such an arrogant manner. Are we losing all sense of democracy?”
Brian Youngblood, chairman of the Fish Hoek Valley Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association, said they had unsuccessfully objected to the City’s amendments to the Municipal Planning By-Law to allow minor free-standing cell masts and minor rooftop cell masts on residential properties.
“We will object to this one as well,” he said.
Written comments or objections to the draft policy, a copy of which can be found here, must be sent in writing to: The Acting Director-General, Department of Communications and DigitalTechnologies; for attention: Mr A Wiltz, Chief Director, Telecommunications and IT Policy at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Added note by EMFSA: Our objections are in the link below.