"Communities should be involved in the decisions that affect them." [DA's 2014 Election Manifesto]
However.... this short clip demonstrates the extent to which the public participation process is being undermined and communities are excluded from decisions that affect them.
For over 18 years, the greater community of the Strawberry Lane area has been actively opposing the construction of cell phone masts based on flawed policy, processes and legislation. They have marched, signed petitions, launched websites, held protests and met with Council and cell phone company executives to explain their views and their communal position. Why, in a democratic society, is the will of the majority no longer a deciding factor in what happens in the midst of a residential community?
What has happened to allow the business interests of corporations more rights than the ratepayers and property owners in a residential suburb? This is not about cell technology or about one particular tower. This is about a growing trend in government to serve the interests of big business despite the protestations by, and regardless of the effect on, the taxpaying voter.
In Jun 2015, the Western Cape High Court ruled that the construction here of a cell mast base station as a "temporary" installation should not be allowed to stand. This ruling potentially has far-reaching implications for many masts in the City of Cape Town and further afield.
In Dec 2016, MTN's appeal was thrown out by the High Court but the illegal mast has not been decommissioned. MTN has now applied to Council to have the site rezoned.
Strawberry Lane Action Group