The city of Cape Town has approved new provisions that allows for the installation of minor freestanding cell masts on properties zoned as Community Use (churches, schools, clinics and hospitals), Utilities, Transport, Public Open Space and Agriculture.
These masts can be installed without prior land use approval from the City or adjacent land owners. Building plan approvals MAY still be required.
Keep in mind that the City only approves the STRUCTURE. What happens next is up to the industry.
Where is the accountability?
Who will keep track of the amount of antenna on the structure, the total radiation output and the combination of the frequencies and modulation types used? The City washes its hands (they are not mandated they say). The DoH? (an awful amount of small cells will have to be monitored).
- Will the monitoring be passed on to an “independent” (read industry affiliated) company?
- Will the industry provide regular reports on the radiation output of each small cell/ or combinations thereof?
- Who will keep track of radiation hot spots created by (for instance) reflection? What will be the distances allowed between the minor freestanding cell masts
- Believe it or not, but although almost impossible, even ICNIRP’s levels can be exceeded.
- Who will be held liable for injuries, damages, deaths due to these facilities? Commercial General Liability does not specifically cover nor include harm from radio frequency radiation exposures.
Bottom line: if you are living next to a church, school, clinic or a hospital a structure can be installed, 4 and 5G, Wi-Fi enabled antenna or antennas added without you having a say in the matter, or even being aware of it.
- Transport Zone 1: Transport Use (TR1) Purpose The TR1 zone provides for transportation systems, excluding public roads and public streets, but including all other transport undertakings which serve the public such as airports, harbours, railway lines, bus, railway and other depots associated with public transport uses, public transport terminuses, ranks or holding areas, and cable car stations.
- Transport Zone 2: Public Road and Public Parking (TR2) Purpose The TR2 Zone provides for public streets and roads, whether constructed or still to be constructed, as well as premises for the public parking of operable motor vehicles.
Antenna can potentially be added to any of the following: lampposts, poles with security cameras. “Minor freestanding cell masts” can be added to your pavement right in front of your house.
Schools and Daycare facilities
The City of Cape Town continues to ignore the Precautionary Principle and the ALARA Principle (as they do with macro towers). South Africa’s most precious and vulnerable, our children, are put at risk.
Other cities are at least interacting with their citizens in a pro active manner. To give one small example, there are others: The City Council of Encinitas voted unanimously to amend their Small Wireless Facilities Policy to restrict small wireless facilities within 500 feet (152,4 meters) from any residential unit, a daycare center or a primary school.
Why is the City of Cape Town ignoring the fact that citizens would like to have a voice and a choice? It brings us back to “Illusion of Inclusion” – the same that happens with the so called “public participation” process for macro cell towers. It seems to be a farce to create an illusion that objectors are actually heard. In a detailed document by EMFSA to the City they pointed out that other cities are taking action and requested that we at least discuss this topic, but so far they have had no response.
Passing the buck
“the City is not mandated to regulate health related matters where telecommunication is concerned. However, all network providers must comply with the requirements of the National Department of Health and the ICNIRP standards on non – ionising radiation protection with respect to safety standards”
“One of the main purposes of these provisions is to ensure the infrastructure is less unsightly and to minimise the impact on the local character of an area where the infrastructure is installed”
How much of this has to do with aesthetics? Is it not merely about the placement of 4G and 5G small cells? Please call a spade a spade. To suddenly be concerned about aesthetics is not credible. The Cape Flats and impoverished communities are littered with unsightly cell towers (as is the sad case of an autistic child from Mitchells Plain who has to live in the shadow of a nearby massive tower.)
EMFSA is a Cape Town-based company that aims to educate individuals, health professionals and communities about the dangers of the exposures to unsafe levels of radiation from technology. Their website is a veritable treasure trove of information on the topic and is highly recommended reading.