You are currently viewing our desktop site, do you want to download our app instead?
Moneyweb Android App Moneyweb iOS App Moneyweb Mobile Web App
Join our mailing list to receive top business news every weekday morning.

South Africans push back against backyard 5G towers

Government’s proposal says network operators ‘have the right to enter upon and use public and private land’.
Adrees Latif, Reuters

Tens of thousands of South Africans have written complaints to the government over a new policy that would let mobile networks build cellphone infrastructure like 5G towers on private land, which they say could devalue their property.

Since communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams gazetted the policy last week, dissent has poured in through the website Dear South Africa, which collects online submissions to challenge or co-form policies before they become law.

“There are concerns about radiation, about the resale value of properties and about this being used as an excuse to expropriate land without compensation,” the group’s founder, Rob Hutchinson, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation over the phone.

South Africa is one of the most unequal countries in the world, according to the World Bank.

These divides are seen along digital lines, too, with a study by the Research ICT Africa think tank showing only 11% of households have broadband internet access – hampering access to online education, among other services.

The government’s proposal says network operators “have the right to enter upon and use public and private land”, citing the need for “high speed, high quality networks” to ensure that “rural areas do not lag behind”.

But critics worry this is a ruse to exploit private property owners.

“This policy proposes that network operators can erect infrastructure on private land, and property owners cannot charge an access fee and are liable for any damage to the infrastructure,” said Hutchinson.

According to the draft policy, owners can charge a “reasonable” access fee if the network operator makes any intrusive changes to their land but are liable for any damage they cause to communications facilities.

Damage to property caused by the network provider must be repaired by the company and the property owner is entitled to reasonable compensation, the policy said.

The Department of Communications and Digital Technologies was not immediately available for comment.

MTN Group , Africa’s largest mobile network operator by subscribers, welcomed the rapid rollout of cellphone infrastructure.

“This lag in providing services does little to enable a digital environment for all,” said Jacqui O’Sullivan, the company’s executive for corporate affairs in South Africa, stressing that the policy is still in the draft phase.

“The draft document is open to comment by all interested parties, including MTN, ensuring that the final document is a robust and balanced document that addresses the concerns of all parties,” O’Sullivan said over WhatsApp.

More than 42,000 submissions were collated through the Dear South Africa site from across all nine provinces in the country, detailing concerns over the public’s right to privacy, property ownership and a healthy and safe environment.

“Private property is owned by us private individuals, therefore I refuse to be bullied by the govt to erect infrastructure at no cost on my property,” wrote a resident whose name was anonymised by the platform.

“Private property is private (bought and paid for). The health risks are unknown. No thank you,” wrote another.

O’Sullivan at MTN said 5G is safer than people think.

“While there are allegations that 5G is already causing health problems, including the novel coronavirus, there is absolutely no scientific evidence to support this,” she said.

Hutchinson said giving residents the chance to air their complaints now could help them avoid the “expensive and lengthy process” or protecting their property rights later.

“Raising your concerns through an official channel provides a legal opportunity to shape policy before implementation,” he said.


Sort by:
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Top voted

You must be signed in to comment.


Really Stella and company! Is this the best proposal that you could come up with for towers to be built without agreement with the owners and for owners to be responsible some equipment breaks or vandalism!
In this country of people vandalising even hospitals with security, what control will the property owners have in making sure that towers are not vandalized at night or when they are not home?
Now you want to make it a responsibility of a person who was bullied for a site build to prove that they are not responsible!
To me this is the same or close to the issue of needing a lawyer to help you prove that a person who entered your house without invite and stolen from you did not present any danger. We are talking about a country where you can be killed for R20.00 or cellphone!

Lawlessness appears endemic. It appears to have included an increasing majority of the flawed “lawmakers”, cadres and appointees whilst the “straight” are sidelined. The revelation of the crime stats shows that the reality is escalating mayhem.
Now we have the 5G money grabbers and gravy-trainers taking the stage whilst the unadulterated majority verdict of the intentionally ignored warns of the inevitable health consequences, such as this inadequately observed attempt:

What about the possibility that these G 5 installations attract criminals that want to strip components – similar of what is happening to cell towers ? No , thank you , not on my property. I have enough on my hands protecting that little that I have in my home.

I was not at home during #5 lockdown. Thieves ransacked my house and stole my solar panels, washing machine etc..

Unless the property owner is also required to supply electrical power, it can be assumed that each one will have to have its own solar PV power supply, control system and battery. How long would these last?

With respect; I wonder if our government fully understands the concept of private property.

Of course they do. But communists believe there shouldn’t be private property. Perhaps read the document on National Democratic Revolution, You know, the NDR 2030 plan the government are pushing, with the logo that’s now been placed everywhere… or recently seems to be getting hidden.

How could they, when they have agreed with EFF on expropriation without compensation!
I wonder if Julies would have felt the same if he still had his farms and the house that he was building in Sandton during his time of being an ANC youth leader earning R250000 but living a life and having assets of a multi millionaire.

Doesn’t apply, not valid under communism.

This sounds like an April fool’s joke, so arrogant!

Legalised “land invasion”!!
If the cellphone companies are allowed to install equipment on private land without the owner’s consent, next we shall have the squatters installing shacks on private land!! Stick an aerial on top of a shack and claim that it is part of a 5G network!

Maybe it’s the cell phone companies and not government pushing this agenda.

Well I’m sure you can bet that there are government-linked people who are receiving voluptuous backhanders as part of this process being pushed by those companies.

From the Chinese…who else!

The government in a democracy is supposed to be apppointed by the people to act for the people. If it is the network operators that is pushing this miserable further breakdown of the concept of private property, the government – being no other than the people being represented – is supposed to nip it in the bud and govern against it; but failing which, the people are now speaking up. Count me in against this atrocious disregard for private property; and in the questioning of our government’s efficiency and understanding of its place and duties.

I think you are a dreamer. Democracy does exist. Look in France. Macron lies to the people all the time. The whole EUROPE is a disguised dictatorship.

Give me fast and cheap Internet without hardware in sight. Pretty sure most of these complaints weren’t sent via post mail.

Forget about backyard.. think backdoor access.

Since Huawei and other big brother tech will be used, you know who will own your data & privacy.

Give me money to defend you in court. I can’t promise you anything but I will defend your rights.

I promise you I wouldn’t move the money to Australia to fund me and my family’s new life over there with it.

Ratepayers should get together in suburbs and negotiate with a credible fibre provider in exchange for promoting them exclusively. This should incentivise them to invest and weaken the business case to keeping the radiating towers away.

Another example of government trampling on the rights of taxpayers. They love undermining property rights.

You want to install a mast on my property? We agree on the terms and you pay me. Simple. Otherwise, get lost…

Just burn them down. Learn from ANC supporter who burn down libraries, hospitals and universities etc.

5 G IS A MILLIMETRE WAVE. Do your homework and look at the detrimental effects of millimetre waves.

Going to be some very serious clashes.
They should buy the properties they want to use.
After all, their profits run into the billions.
Or is their some backhander deal going on.

The HEALTH impact is enormous . Speak to any neurosurgeon and he will tell you that in the past 20 years the amount if brain tumor has increased dramatically. Don’t believe any medical studies. The medical world is under the grip of lobbists, just like any other industries. You have the proof during the Covid crisis. Chloroquine works but has been dismissed by all. Too cheap. No money . A threat to the big pharma industry. Don’t forget that behind 5G is simply the CHINESE high tech giant. CHINA WANTS TO CONTROL 100% of AFRICA. From North to South and East to West. China has and will never care about anyone except themselves.

End of comments.





Follow us:

Search Articles:Advanced Search
Click a Company: