Cellphone mast turned down

2017-08-01 06:01

Steenberg residents are elated that they managed to stop the erection of a communications mast on their doorstep.

In January a group of concerned Steenberg residents living near the Galilean Gospel Mission Church formed a collective and objected to an application to the City of Cape Town for the rezoning of erf 84641 for a permit to erect a cellphone tower.

The proposed mast was going to be about 15m with one antenna and a base.

On Tuesday 18 July the municipal planning tribunal held a meeting at the subcouncil 18 offices in Lotus River to finalise various items, including this ­application.

Resident Malcolm Little was granted an oral interview to present the local community’s submission to the tribunal sitting. After deliberations, the tribunal chairperson announced the application was turned down.

Little is positive that the high number of written objections and petitions submitted by the local community, together with his oral submission, made a definite impact on the tribunal and its decision.

“We didn’t want it in the area and residents made it clear.

“We believe that prevention is better than cure. We have heard of the effects of magnetic radiation and if we allow this to happen and the people suffer from the effects years later will the companies putting up the masts pay for the medical expenses?

“We had to fight it now because later on we will not have a leg to stand on. The policy and the process of allowing these masts to go up is flawed and we have to stand against it,” he says.

The collective was supported by Mark Solomons, chairperson of the Retreat Ratepayers and Residents’ Association, and ward councilor Marita Petersen.

In addition, Muna Lakhani, branch co-coordinator of Earthlife Africa Cape Town, supported their opposition.

The residents had staged, since March, protest demonstrations every Sunday outside the church.

Brett Herron, Mayco member for transport and urban development, couldn’t give more details on why the application had been turned down and says the minutes of the tribunal meeting are usually published a week after being endorsed by tribunal members and signed off by the chairperson. He is awaiting these approved minutes.

“Normally, following an application to the tribunal, feedback is provided to the applicant, then objectors and only then do the outcomes become widely available through the release of the minutes. I therefore cannot comment on the specifics of this case as yet.”


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