Fourth Road mast ‘unlawful’ – court

2018-06-05 06:00

Local residents can breathe a sigh of relief as the mast that was erected in Fourth Road has been deemed unlawful by the Cape Town High Court.

Residents, together with the Princess Vlei Civic Association, put their heads together to see what they could do about the mast, which they claimed had been erected without following proper public participation, and they wanted it pulled down (“Take the mast down”, People’s Post, 24 May 2016).

The freestanding base mast belonging to Telkom was erected in a resident’s yard in Erf 80708 after he had reached an agreement with Telkom.

In the report of the judgement, it came to light that the resident’s property is zoned under the Municipal Planning Bylaw as Single Residential 1: Conventional Housing. Single Residential 1 zoning provides predominantly for single-family dwelling houses and additional use rights in low- to medium-density residential neighbourhoods.

The bylaw prohibits the erection of a mast on land zoned Single Residential 1.

In his judgement, acting High Court Judge, P Andrews, said the erection of the mast was unlawful.

“The applicant’s application is dismissed with costs. The erection of a freestanding base telecommunications station on Erf 80708, 47 Fourth Road, Heathfield, Cape Town (the property) on or about April 2016 is declared to be
unlawful.

“The use and development of the property for the purposes of a freestanding base telecommunications station is declared to be unlawful.

“The First Applicant (Telkom) is to pay the costs of the Respondent’s (the City of Cape Town’s) counter-application,” reads the judgement.

Mayco member for transport and urban development, Brett Herron, says the City’s Development Management Department previously submitted a report to the Municipal Planning Tribunal (MPT) for an administrative penalty for the unlawful erection of the freestanding base telecommunication station.

“However, a decision on the administrative penalty was postponed due to the challenge by Telkom as to the legality of the part of the Municipal Planning Bylaw 2015 that relates to telecommunication base stations. We will wait to see if the court’s decision is appealed by Telkom before the administrative penalty is retabled at the MPT.

“The main application for rezoning of a portion of the property will be decided upon by the MPT only once the administrative penalty process has been finalised,” he says.

Princess Vlei Civic Association secretary, Glorya van Niekerk, says they are happy about the outcome.

“If this was put on the other side of the line, in the affluent suburbs, it would have been opposed
quickly.

“But I guess as always we are on the wrong side of the Cape Flats. We seem to be everyone’s dumping ground. All this seemed like it was profit before people no matter the health aspect of radiation of the cellphone towers,” she says.

Ward councillor Kevin Southgate says the contractor was on site trying to do work even after the ruling.

“I had to call Law Enforcement to stop them from working on the mast.

“The Law Enforcement officer told them that they were in contempt of court and they left,” he says.

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