A West Rand community may see property prices plummet because of MTN’s construction of a cellphone mast on a local church’s grounds.
And after the Saturday Star reported on the Rangeview community’s unhappiness about the mast, they discovered that if the Anglican Church of the Ascension in Rangeview had backed out of a deal with the cellphone provider, MTN would have halted construction. But it could be too late now. The church is being paid rent for the site and the construction of the mast has already begun.
The community has appealed to other entities to help, including the Mogale City municipality and the public protector.
Last week resident Sarah Piketh fired off yet another letter to the council requesting its regulations regarding building and construction.
“This has been ongoing for two-and-a-half years and, after numerous failed attempts to get any response from the relevant parties within the municipality, we decided to request the official documentation via the (Access to Information Act).
“Although the act allows for a 30-day period in which the documentation must be made available (and we have only recently made an official request) we have tried to obtain information for 31 months.
“Numerous phone calls have been made and letters and e-mails sent, to no avail.
“As ratepayers of this municipal area we are concerned that the democratic rights of residents are being ignored, as our continued requests for information are being ignored,” Piketh wrote.
Piketh, like many other residents, is trying to sell her property and move to a safer area, but she has received letters from at least four estate agents who have said that a cellphone mast in the vicinity will devalue the properties significantly.
Glen Quirk of Remax wrote: “I have been selling property for the past 23 years… and it is my experience that any structure like a cell mast will reduce the property price by between 20 and 30 percent.
“It will also take longer to find a buyer willing to live next to such a structure.”
Sue Hall of Eltec Properties wrote to Piketh saying prospective buyers were put off properties where there were masts in the area.
“It probably reduces the prospective market by 30 to 40 percent, as the buyers will not even view properties in close proximity to cellphone masts,” Hall wrote.