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Cell masts - the silent, slow killers

14 June 2018, 10:23

Has your community been affected by the erection of or an application to erect a cell mast? If you haven't, judging by the flood of applications by cell companies to erect cell masts in residential areas, you will be affected sooner rather than later. With 5G on the horizon, there will be a massive roll-out of cell mast infrastructure and many more communities will be affected. It is an onslaught.

Having just been through the public participation process for a cell mast application in my neighbourhood, I have first-hand experience of how flawed this process is. The odds are stacked against citizens trying to challenge such applications. It also appears that corrupt activity is at play.

I have followed many objections by other communities to cell mast applications. A few have been successfully fought off but most are eventually passed. If the cell companies don’t succeed with such an application, they simply try again at a later date. The cell phone companies have vast resources and most cases that are challenged are dragged out by the cell companies in the legal system until the affected residents are too exhausted to continue the fight or they have run out of money.

I feel the only way we citizens will put a stop to this once and for all is by challenging the constitutionality of erecting cell masts in residential areas. We have a much-vaunted Bill of Rights that enshrines the right to a safe environment. Let's put this to the test and see if our rights are indeed protected by our Constitution.

To do this, we need to fight smart. We need to get organised and fight the cell companies as one group. If we continue as we are in silos, all communities fighting these applications will be picked off one by one by the cell companies and they'll force their masts into our living spaces. We need to create a "war chest" that can be used by any community fighting an application for a cell mast in their area. This can be funded by donations, fundraisers, crowd-funding and with the assistance of interested NGOs.

The cell companies must be made aware that they will be made to go to court for each application and that this will eat into their profits. If this group becomes too big to be ignored, we will be able to influence policy decisions and even interrogate political parties about their cell technology policies before voting for them. We could even organise to port from a particular cell company en masse if they continue to roll out their infrastructure at the expense of the citizens. 

In all the cell mast applications that I have seen, the most common objection was on health grounds. Other frequently raised objections were environmental degradation, reduction in property values & impairment of views.

On the health issue, the cell companies simply say they follow the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines. WHO relies on the International Commission on Non-ionizing Radiation (ICNIRP) to investigate the health effects of low level electromagnetic fields, which cell masts/phones (amongst other devices) emit. The problem with this is that the ICNIRP is totally compromised and is an industry loyal NGO that seemingly is answerable to no-one.

There are serious conflicts of interest and they seem more concerned with shielding the cell companies from criticism than with the negative health effects of this technology. As one example, this is a quote by the head of the ICNIRP, Dr Emile van Deventer, in 2007 : “Industry is not interested in your health, they want the network to work properly.” They simply fob off any criticism of the industry and ignore the latest research. This allows WHO to glibly claim that “there is no research that proves any known adverse health effect” without producing a shred of evidence for this astounding claim. Let’s call this what it is - a blatant lie.

This mantra is repeated by cell companies and municipalities to squash any health concerns raised.  (The City of Cape Town has even stated that they will no longer consider any objections based on health risks.) In fact, this same modus operandi has been used by the oil, tobacco, GMO, pharmaceutical and other industries. They introduce scientific uncertainty by creating the illusion that there is some doubt about the prevailing research. They never have to be proven right – they only have to maintain this illusion. This is despite the scientists doing the actual research all agreeing that there is indeed a serious concern. This is fraudulent and borders on criminal negligence.

Many concerned scientists have tried to approach both WHO and ICNIRP to impress upon them the dangers of the mass roll-out of cell technology infrastructure and that the information WHO are disseminating stands in stark contrast to their research results. There is ample evidence that radiofrequency radiation (RF) causes an increase in the risk of cancer, infertility, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders (like Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s) , electrohypersensitivity, DNA changes, heart disease, immune system deficiency, and more. Many long-term studies on the effect of RF on humans are coming to completion and the results are being published. Each new result seems to be more damning than the last.

We can no longer rely on the information from the ICNIRP alone to formulate our health or cell infrastructure policy. We need to force a review of all the available research from all sources and make an informed decision on the dangers (or not) of low level electromagnetic fields generated by cell masts.

If there are no health risks, as the cell companies claim, then surely they would welcome such a review as it would vindicate their stance. In fact, they should even be willing to fund such a review. Of course they won’t because they know full well that there are serious health risks associated with this technology. As proof of this, British Telecomm warned shareholders in their 2017 annual report, “We cannot provide absolute assurance that research in the future won’t establish links between radio frequency emissions and health risks.” What they are really saying is : “We can’t hide the truth forever.”

We need to challenge the current cell mast policy in the Constitutional Court. We need to ask the ConCourt for the following relief:

  1. Order that a commission of enquiry be set up to review all research relating to the health risks of cell mast emissions. The results of this enquiry must be used to formulate cell mast infrastructure policy.

  2. Order a moratorium on the roll out of cell mast infrastructure until this commission of enquiry has published its findings.

  3. Order that no cell masts may be erected in residential areas especially taking into account the most vulnerable citizens – children and the aged. No cell masts near creches, schools or old age homes.

  4. Order that anyone who “hosts” a cell mast on their property will be held jointly liable for all medical claims that arise from exposure to cell mast emissions.

  5. Order that a commission of enquiry or a panel of experts must meet every 2 years to review new science relating to cell masts and to update all related policies accordingly.

  6. Order that cell masts in residential areas must have 50% + 1 community support.

  7. Order that all cell masts that fall foul of the new guidelines be removed.

If you share my concerns about the massive roll-out of cell mast infrastructure without heeding the available and alarming health risks associated with that, then please visit our website at and register your details. The plan is to create a one-stop-shop where objectors can find the necessary information for their challenge. This will be used as contact list for all further updates on this campaign.
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.


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