Proposed 5G policy would erode the rights of property owners, says lawyer


Author Penny Fourie, Journalist

July 31, 2020

The new policy does away with the red tape and allows mobile network operators to install telecommunications stations – cellphone masts – at locations of their choice without prior approval from local authorities.

Ballito attorney Andy Horton warned that the proposed policy by implication would erode the rights of property owners.

“Under the proposed policy the extra burden will fall on the property owner should access be disputed.”

“An appeals tribunal has been proposed, however under 2.14 of the policy which says disputes may be resolved by the Complaints and Compliance Committee or an adjudicator appointed by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa.

“How independent this authority will be is not clear,” said Horton.

The new policy also supersedes local authorities and strips control from municipalities.

“The revised rules will give wireless companies the right to erect 5G cell towers on an accelerated schedule without having to go through the current planning approval in place – allowing them to bypass municipal bylaws and policy that makes provision for a public consultation process.”

Ballito resident Mark Whitehead said the process appears not to be following the standard parliamentary oversight process and was poorly thought through.

“The current proposed legislation favours the network provider, and the framework is open to abuse,” he said.

The proposed legislation is also being disputed by the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) environmental rights group.

Co-ordinator Desmond D’Sa said:

“The policy undermines the constitutional rights of property owners.”

“Opposition parties and the public need to stand together to oppose this policy which will not only effect our property values but will pose health risks.”

Opposition party IFP have called on the government “to exercise caution” in the roll-out of 5G while the DA have come out in support of the policy.

The public have been given 30 days from the date of publication of the gazette to object, meaning that the closing date is August 20.

Comments can be submitted either in writing or by email to the acting director-general, department of communications and digital technologies (attention Mr A Wiltz) Private Bag X860, Pretoria, 0001, or

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