MTN South Africa faces lawsuit over mast roll-out in Durban

Wednesday 8 August 2018

MTN South Africa has been sued by an organisation calling itself the Durban Anti-Cell Mast Alliance (Dacma), seeking to stop the mobile company from rolling out new towers in the coastal city, TechCentral reported. Dacma which was founded in 2017 to protest against what it called the “illegal” deployment of masts in Durban. It said that it lodged papers with the high court in Durban asking for a review of a “secret deal” that it claims MTN concluded with the eThekwini municipality in April 2016.

The alliance alleges that eThekwini head of disaster management Vincent Ngubane “absolved MTN from any regulatory processes” when it erected new infrastructure in the city. Dacma said it has gone to court because both MTN and eThekwini municipality have consistently lied about the arrangement.  It has accused MTN and the municipality of “disregarding” by-laws and town planning schemes, and of contravening national legislation and health and safety guidelines.

It says despite numerous newspaper reports, community activism, council questions, applications via the Promotion of Access to Information Act, legal correspondence and public meetings, neither eThekwini municipality nor MTN has done anything to explain how this situation came about, or whether they intend to rectify it.

In response to a query from TechCentral, MTN South Africa spokeswoman Jacqui O’Sullivan said that in February, the eThekwini municipality defined the “ex post facto process” (retrospective action) that MTN and other mobile operators making use of “camera poles”, would be required to follow, related to 63 poles. O’Sullivan said MTN immediately began preparing to meet these requirements and had made significant progress since then.–1255979

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