Late last year, residents of Graaff-Reinet were suddenly alerted to plans by the mobile phone provider MTN to erect two more cellphone base stations in the residential areas of 5 Donkin Street and 188 Cradock Street on private properties.
What started as a project to improve the sketchy MTN customer experience reportedly ended up in public relations nightmare. When the Camdeboo town planner, Ndumiso Camngca, called for a public participation meeting in December, there was one notable absence: neither the project applicant MTN nor any of its contractors or consultants were present.
Angry residents demanded explanations and drafted two memoranda with detailed concerns and technical questions on radiation and heritage issues. These memoranda remain unanswered until today.
In the new year of 2016, MTN finally sat up and listened.
Last Wednesday they arrived in Graaff-Reinet with a full delegation to meet the locals in the Town Hall. This included:
Marius van Rensberg, Senior Property Negotiator at MTN
Kelvin Durrheim , a radio engineer from MTN Port Elizabeth
Wassel van Brakel, engineer consultant appointed by MTN
More details on the concerns of residents having the masts located in such sensitive locations close to heritage sites and schools here… :