Livid residents plan to stop cell phone mast construction

The construction site in Hazelwood.

THE BATTLE by the Hazelwood residents to stop the current construction of a telecommunication mast and base station (cell ‘phone tower) on a residential site, is a battle they plan to win.

Three weeks ago, construction of the mast at the corner of Junction Road in Hazelwood began, despite a protest by the residents and a notice to cease work, given by Umdoni Municipality to the company, last Monday, February 26.

Residents who live in the area are adamant that they do not want the mast anywhere near the area.

They have expressed concerns regarding the effects of the electronic equipment on their health and particularly on the health of their children.

Previously the residents had signed a petition against the building of this mast, however this was unsuccessful as the construction appears to have been approved without their knowledge.

After numerous engagements with the ward councillor, Sboniso Cele, the contractor was given notice to discontinue operations on the site until the matter had been resolved, but the contractor failed adhere to the instruction.

This ‘arrogance’, as residents put it, encouraged them to gather at the site on Friday, March 2 to stop any further continuation of the project. After lengthy discussions, the contractor is reported to have vacated the site on the same day. “It must be said that Umdoni’s town planning department is in a state of chaos as the department has allowed this mast to be constructed despite the community’s concerns. No building inspector has been here to oversee what is going on.

If this had happened he/she would have seen that the contractor was contravening the law by continuing with the construction despite being given notice to stop work. The work done on the mast since Monday is illegal and should be dismantled. This matter needs to be resolved,” said concerned resident, Cllr Ravi Maharaj.

Concerns about cancer risks, among other illnesses, are high on the list of the possible consequences of building the mast in a residential area. It is also said that dementia, memory loss, insomnia, ADD and brain disorders affect people living near cell ‘phone masts, because of the radiation. According to a report by Lloyd Burrell, the threat comes from the constant emission of pulsed radio frequency radiation.

This radiation has been shown to cause biological damage to the body and to be a precursor to certain diseases.

Burrell suggests that cell towers should be located away from residential areas and far away from schools and day care centres.

MSCRS Reporter

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