Betty's Bay is one of the last natural coastal havens in South Africa, still untouched by ill-thought profitable industrial and property developments that not only cause gross over-population and the collapse of infrastructures, but also irreparable damage and destruction to the beautiful natural environment that drew the people there in the first place.
How much longer will this pristine piece of paradise - a world-renowned and acclaimed fynbos biosphere between mountain and sea - be able to withstand the impact of greedy developers and politicians who put profit and self-enrichment above the conservation of our most precious and priceless natural assets and tourism magnets?
The beautiful Betty's Bay is a tranquil holiday town nestling between the Kogelberg mountains and the Atlantic Sea in the Overberg - offering residents and visitors the best of both worlds with spectacular sea and mountain views.
The village, that once housed the Waaygat Whaling Station to harvest and process whale meat in the early 1900's, is most renowned for its pristine natural beauty, still untouched by relentless industrialization and overpopulation. Residents cherish this unspoilt piece of paradise where gravel roads and the absence of street lamps accentuate the rural ambience so coveted by city dwellers and tourists alike.
It is a unique biosphere where residents share their gardens with Cape Clawless Otters, Cape Greybuck, Water Mongoose, Grey Mongoose, Oystercatchers, Caracal, Serval (Tierboskat), African Wildcat, Genets (Muskeljaatkat), Civets and even still the occasional Leopard. The Caracal and Otters are resident on Stony Point. The occasional dassies and baboons have become a nuisance, but residents learned to live with their antics.
A leopard in the garden of Betty's Bay resident Van As Jordaan
Centrally located just 100 km from Cape Town along the scenic coastal R44 drive between Kleinmond and Pringle Bay, the town also hosts the famous Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens, as well as the second biggest African penguin colony in the Western Cape - situated in the Betty's Bay Marine Protected Area in Stony Point.
It is here, in the midst of Stony Point between breeding penguins, where an ongoing battle is still raging around a 200 feet (39 m) MTN cellphone tower that MTN erected on municipal property almost twenty years ago despite strong opposition from local residents.
According to the initial lease agreement between the Overstrand Municipality and MTN in March 2001, MTN was to lease a portion of Erf No 2411 at Stony Point for the erection of a mast and associated infrastructure for a period of 20 years. Further rental periods were to be negotiated 3 months prior to expiry of the agreement.
MTN was to pay Overstrand Municipality a once-off payment of R250 000.00 excluding VAT in advance as payment for the full period (20 years) of the agreement. The municipality as the local supply authority is the supplier of the electricity to operate the equipment for the duration of the lease contract.
This original contract expires at the end of March 2021 and property owners and full-time residents were looking forward to the long-awaited removal of the unsightly and invasive tower - not only because of the health threats and constant nuisance factor of the inverter and wind noise keeping them awake at night, but also because such a massive telecommunication structure does not belong in the centre of a proclaimed Marine Protected Area and Penguin sanctuary.
View from a bedroom of one of the residents
Two months ago, their hopes were shattered when a construction team arrived in May during the Covid-19 lock down to do "standard maintenance work" to the tower, involving the painting and de-rusting of the 39 m structure.
Unbearable invasion of privacy and constant noise pollution
Some houses are less than 100 metres from the tower and the added daily noise and invasion of privacy during lock down caused another public outcry. Workers on the tower have a 360-degree view into all neighbouring properties. Residents find the privacy invasion, constant noise and activity within a protected penguin colony unbearable and totally unacceptable, but seems to have no say in the matter. Some enquiries revealed that the controversial Chinese telecommunication giant, HUAWEI, contracted a Cape Town company to do the maintenance work on behalf of MTN.
5G and HUAWEI
Huawei's sudden involvement in Betty's Bay raised even more concern as this specific company is notorious for its questionable 5G technology which has already been banned from the USA, UK and several other countries due to the immense security risks of its 5G software technology.
Furthermore, Betty's Bay residents are strongly opposed to the controversial 5G technology due to the immense health risks from an overload of electro-magnetic pollution and radiation.
They want to know why the maintenance and painting of the tower need to be done now during lock down as it is not an essential service - and especially since the original contract expires within 7 months.
Addendum to initial agreement with MTN
Residents are also worried that an addendum to the original contract that was added on 1 June 2001 will enable MTN to extend its lease for a further period of 9 years and 11 months.
According to the new agreement the lease shall be for a period of twenty (20) years (the “initial period”) commencing on 1 April 2001 with a further period of nine (9) years and eleven (11) months (the “option period”) which option shall be exercised in writing by the Lessee (MTN) no less than three (3) months prior to the expiry of the initial period. Rental for the “option period” shall be re-negotiated prior to the expiry of the initial period but shall not unreasonably exceed market-related rentals at that time.
Thus far, no definite confirmation could be obtained from the Overstrand Municipality whether MTN has indicated that it wants to exercise its option to extend the lease period or has applied for the extension yet . . .
Earlier discussions to move the tower and its infrastructure to a more suitable premise have also apparently come to a standstill … and residents fear the time is running out if no alternative venue has yet even been identified.
To complicate matters, the Overstrand Municipality has apparently transferred the applicable portion of land at Stony Point to the Department of Public Works in 2019 and appointed Cape Nature as the custodian of the property . . . thereby exonerating themselves from all responsibility towards the renewal of the lease agreement with MTN.
* Residents were right - 5G WAS installed now during lockdown while they were trying to get help from the responsible authorities to avoid it: https://web.facebook.com/elsa.wessels/posts/10158418606503397
WHO is responsible?
The question is now WHO is ultimately responsible for the decision to extend the lease agreement with MTN when the contract for the “initial period” expires on 31 March 2021. . . and will that include the adding of the new controversial 5G wireless cellphone technology?
It is also not as if both the Overstrand Municipality and Cape Nature were unaware of the Stony Point residents' continuous concerns and appeals in dozens of letters against the degrading of the area and the health impacts of the tower . . . In a meeting as recently as 28 March 2017 of the Stoney Point PAAC, both OM Councillor Fanie Krige and Tierck Hoekstra of Cape Nature were implored to make sure MTN is timeously notified that the contract will NOT be renewed in 2021 so that alternative sites could be found. . . precisely to avoid what is happening NOW?
It seems NOTHING was done, adding to residents' frustration that they have been thrown under the bus by the authorities that are supposed to serve them and act in their best interest . . . ?
Would ANY of the responsible officials have allowed such a monstrous tower near their OWN homes?
Both MTN and HUAWEI are already marketing and installing 5G structures and technology across South Africa and Namibia despite strong and growing public opposition, and Betty’s Bay residents fear the same will happen here without their prior knowledge or consent.
Seeing that microwave military 5G is a totally different form of technology compared to the existing generations of cellphone technology 1,2,3 and 4G and poses much worse health and security risks, MTN will have to follow the standard application procedures regarding new technology, which includes an environmental / health impact study and a public participation process before it can add any additional technology to its existing structures.
Dr Martin Pall, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences at Washington State University discusses the real threat of 5g.
Residents within a radius of 500m from the MTN tower feel they are already bombarded with an overload of electro-magnetic radiation 24/7 which has been causing a variety of typical EMF health implications – including intermittent periods of unexplainable headaches, dizziness, disorientation, chest pains, heart palpitations and irregular heartbeat and anxiety.
Adding the heavily contested 5G microwave-frequency to the existing hotchpotch of EM pollution will dramatically increase the EM pollution and health risks, of which cancer, cardio-vascular problems and neuro-degenerative diseases are the most alarming.
Readings of EMF meters in the area also often show disturbing spikes in EMF levels that exceed the allowed safety regulations.
Passing the buck
Residents feel the Overstrand Municipality as the overhead local authority is still responsible for the premises as they initially signed the contract with MTN and still benefits greatly from the agreement, which “allows both Vodacom and the Overstrand Municipality to make use of the premises and/or the infrastructure thereof for the purpose of a base station and/or municipal radio equipment which will involve the installation, housing, operation and maintenance of equipment owned by the said Vodacom and the Overstrand Municipality, on conditions which are not in conflict with the conditions contained in this agreement”.
This means that the rural hamlet of Betty’s Bay is basically the telecommunication base / headquarters supplying the infrastructure and services for all telco’s like Vodacom, MTN and Cell C to cover the entire Overberg region. One wonders when last an independent company tested the EM radiation levels in the area?
Furthermore, the conditions in the 2001 contract stipulate specifically:
Condition 8: Should future research suggest health implications for electromagnetic radiation at the proposed frequencies, this application may be re-evaluated, and decommissioning or alteration of the equipment may be required.
Key factors affecting the decision:
Cognisant of the following:
- Cellular telephone facilities constitute a world-wide substantial, growing and extending technology – the cumulative impact of which have not as yet been absolutely proven to be totally without risk;
- Leasing of space to construct cellular telephone mast and base station facilities provide a significant income for institutions, particularly schools and churches, often within disadvantaged communities;
- All cellular telephone facilities in South Africa are required to conform to the World Health Organisation, and National Health Department standards with regard to levels of electromagnetic radiation;
- The conditions of this authorisation reflect a precautionary approach by the Department without unnecessarily infringing on the rights of individuals or institutions to voluntarily have such facilities erected upon their property.
From the above, it is clear that the world-wide concern about the cumulative health impact of cellular technology and EM radiation was already a major worrisome factor in 2001 – long before the explosion of wireless technology and 5g/Artificial Intelligence was even considered in the public domain. Since 2001, harmful electromagnetic pollution and radiation have more than trebled and triggered a global appeal and serious warnings from the medical and scientific fraternity.
It is also concerning to note that financial gain is put above health concerns and that the most vulnerable institutions like schools and churches in disadvantaged communities are targeted DESPITE the growing health concerns.
The “so-called precautionary safety measures” of the Department of Health means basically nothing if it is overruled by the public’s rights . . . meaning that an individual who chooses to profit from allowing telecommunication companies to place dangerous cellphone masts or structures on his/her property may do so despite the health risks to him/herself and those who are unavoidably also exposed to the harmful effects?
Ground-breaking court ruling against random cellphone masts
Betty’s Bay’s ongoing battle against ill-placed cellphone masts and excessive exposure to harmful electromagnetic radiation is echoed in innumerable towns and cities across the world . . . but it seems the Tech Tycoons have become untouchable, forcing activist groups in many international cities to set 5G masts and structures alight.
In South Africa, a recent ground-breaking ruling by the Constitutional Court put a halt to the random installation of cellphone masts and structures on municipal land that does not comply with the municipality’s zoning by-laws – effectively putting municipalities on the spot to take responsibility for the well-being of its citizens. Whether this ruling will apply to all 5G small cell sites and structures too and whether all municipalities will adhere to it, remains to be seen.
Telkom loses ConCourt battle on cellphone masts
26 June 2020
The Constitutional Court (ConCourt) delivered a blow to Telkom yesterday, dismissing the company’s bid to be allowed to install telecommunications stations – cellphone masts – at locations of its choice without prior approval from local authorities.
Telkom approached the ConCourt seeking the interpretation of Section 22 of the Electronic Communications Act. It wanted the court to pronounce whether the exercise of rights it held in terms of the section is subject to compliance with municipal bylaws before exercising those rights.
The court’s decision is likely to have a far-reaching impact on telcos that have previously faced criticism over cellphone masts. Concerns from some quarters ranged from the masts being a distraction, to alleged emission of electromagnetic radiation.
The long-running battle over the cellphone masts between Telkom and the City of Cape of Town dates back to 2016 when Telkom installed a cellphone mast in Heathfield, without prior approval from the city.
According to the City of Cape Town, the zoning of the land does not permit the installation of a cellphone mast, and when the city informed Telkom that it was in breach of the Municipal Planning Bylaw, the company approached the Western Cape High Court to challenge the validity of the law and Cape Town’s telecommunications mast infrastructure policy.
At the time, Telkom planned to install 135 masts across Cape Town and went ahead and installed seven masts without obtaining the city’s approval.
The city responded by imposing an administrative penalty on Telkom and put its application for rezoning on hold pending payment of the penalty. The telco then approached the courts.
Subsequently, Telkom lost the matter in the Western Cape High Court, as well as in Bloemfontein at the Supreme Court of Appeals, before heading to the ConCourt.
On Thursday, the ConCourt unanimously dismissed Telkom, saying its “interpretation” of the law lacks merit.
“The Constitutional Court further held that its jurisprudence on the interpretation and application of section 22 of the Act illustrates that licensees must comply with municipal bylaws when they exercise the right conferred on them by that provision. Therefore, it held that the Supreme Court of Appeal cannot be faulted for applying that interpretation of section 22,” reads the judgement.
It continues: “The Constitutional Court held that leave to appeal must be refused as it was not in the interest of justice to grant it. The effect of the refusal was that the order issued by the High Court remains extant and Telkom should pay costs, including the costs of two counsel.”
In court, Telkom argued the municipal bylaw does not apply to it and that the company is free to install cellphone towers wherever it deems fit, irrespective of whether or not the land is zoned for that use.
Telkom argued the city had no legislative power to regulate telecommunications, and to the extent that the impugned bylaw, read with the policy, regulates telecommunications, it is invalid.
Further, Telkom argued that compliance with different bylaws is unworkable and that this constitutional conundrum is to assign a restrictive meaning to the phrase “municipal planning”.
The City of Cape Town argued that all land units within the city’s municipal boundaries have a base zoning that determines what the land can be used for, and how the land may be developed.
This zoning, among others, it contended, is indicated in the Development Management Scheme that is included in the municipal planning bylaw.
Growing health concern and public resistance against untested 5G technology
Meanwhile, public outcries and international and national petitions to ban 5G - and especially China's HUAWEI - due to security and health risks, are gaining momentum by the day.
In South Africa, the latest petition was launched this month:
A team of concerned South Africans citizens and activists are working together through a Facebook Group Safe Gen F*ve for South Africa, to raise awareness about the problems of rolling out untested and potentially dangerous 5G in South Africa. We are now mounting a formal legal campaign calling for the South African Government to adopt the Precautionary Principle and place a moratorium on the roll-out of 5G in South Africa, until it has been independently tested and proven safe.
The campaign is backed by credible international scientific research pointing to health and environmental dangers of Electro Magnetic Frequency radiation (EMF) in general. Our aim is to call for a moratorium until the lack of effective policy, risk assessment and safety standards has been addressed. Unsafe and inadequate international radiation guidelines set by the ICNIRP which SA supposedly adheres to, are a real problem. We are fundraising to help for the legal fees of this important campaign.
The People in South Africa are becoming increasingly alarmed as they learn of the serious implications of the 5G roll-out: to their own health, the environment and all biological life. No one wants a mast emitting high levels of radiation outside their home, their child’s school or their place of work. The benefits claimed by the telecoms industry come at a very high price. We think it is too high. 5G radiation will be sent from advanced antennas, in phased arrays, that transmit microwaves in narrow beams, a technology originally developed for military purposes. This will massively increase the exposure to radiation from those beams. Those beams will be nearly everywhere.
The telecoms industry intend to outfit nearly every lamp post or utility post around the country with wireless small cell antennas beaming hazardous radiation next to, or into, our homes, schools, work places and everywhere, 24/7 as well as intensifying 4G throughout the countryside.
Reassurances of safety made by the 5G telecom companies is based on the long obsolete view point that radio frequency (RF) radiation can only cause harm above thermal, tissue heating, levels of exposure. This concept has been invalidated by hundreds of peer-reviewed published scientific papers. Insurance underwriters such as Lloyds of London and Swiss Re have weighed up the risk; Swiss Re class it as a future ‘high-impact risk.’
In fact, the large telecoms corporations are themselves warning their shareholders (not the public) of the risks of 5G. In their information to shareholders, telecommunications companies warn about potential loss of share value due to future litigation related to health risks.
Consequence of 5G implementation inaction will allow irreparable harm to all life, most particularly the vulnerable among us including unborn, children, the elderly, anyone with underlying health conditions and people with metal implants. THERE IS NO OPTING OUT FROM THIS. It is UNTESTED.
There will be a fundamental difference in our lives and we will lose our privacy as surveillance and social control by industry and governments becomes ubiquitous with tracking and monitoring leading to behaviour modification.
Read the full article here:
Who decide what is safe?
While glossy 5G advertisements and propaganda are suddenly flooding all media and social media platforms, all health-related scientific research, peer-reviewed studies and warnings of the past century are swept under the carpet and defamed as "conspiracy theories" by the same propaganda machines that are heavily invested in this untested weaponized technology.
Where does this leave the public who have always relied on the "traditional mainstream media" for unbiased, objective and factual information in a "new normal" era characterized by grossly contradictory and one-sided information and an unprecedented onslaught of media manipulation and capturing by Tech Tycoons . . . ?
Maybe the public will have to stop relying on the captured media to inform them about health issues and decide for themselves WHO and WHAT they choose to belief where their health is concerned - profitable telecommunication companies with invested interest, or independent medical and scientific experts whose specialized research have been captured in thousands of journals since the 1870's . . .
Are the regulating agencies who determine the "safety regulations" of new technology adequately qualified, informed, impartial and up-to-date with all the risks of the latest technologies or are they advised by experts with invested interest?
The international guidelines of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the safety of cellphones, 5G and wireless technology are 30 years outdated, flawed and totally inapplicable today to protect the public against an avalanche of toxic electromagnetic pollution and radiation. Notwithstanding, the captured FCC in conjunction with Tech Tycoons and politicians are hellbent to cover the planet with a hotchpotch of potentially lethal radio and microwave frequencies from land, sea and sky.
In South Africa, MTN also announced in June that it followed RAIN and Vodacom to launch 5G hotspots in Johannesburg, Tswane, Cape Town and several small towns . . . without the public having a clue and without any mandatory safety/health/environmental impact studies or public participation processes. Cellphone towers and 5G structures are shooting up like mushrooms in neighbourhoods and even upon the roofs of schools, churches and buildings in densely populated areas . . .
DESPITE a Constitutional Court verdict that cellphone masts and structures may ONLY be deployed in designated areas according to municipalities' zoning by-laws . . . ?
So WHO is in the first place responsible for the public's health in a city or town? Are the municipalities so compromised and invested in 5G that they willfully and knowingly break their own laws and thereby putting their communities at risk?
If TELKOM lost its bid to install cellphone masts at locations of its choice without prior approval from local authorities, then the same law applies to ALL cellphone structures . . . and the responsibility to protect the public's safety lies with the municipalities.
Underneath is a summary of independent Medical/Health research on the biological effects of cellphones and EM radiation since the 1870's:
The 1,479-page BioInitiative Report is an extensive scientific review of 3,800 studies. The report concludes that bio-effects from cell phones, cell towers, Wi-Fi and smart meters can occur within minutes of exposure. The BioInitiative report was authored by 29 leading scientists from 10 countries, with 10 MDs and 21 PhDs. The Co-Editor of the report is Professor David Carpenter, MD., the Director of the Institute for Health and Environment, University of Albany, a collaborating center with the World Health Organization. He is also one of the Petitioners in the CHD case.
First, 5G emits “ultra high frequencies”. The higher the frequency, the shorter the length of each wave. This means more waves hit our bodies in the same amount of time. Previous cellular generations emitted from 1 to 6 GHz frequencies. 5G cell towers may emit frequencies as high as 300 GHz.
* Follow up: 5G has been activated DESPITE residents' desperate attempts to have the tower removed. This depicts what is happening NOW in a national Marine Protected Area/penguin sanctuary during lockdown: