Residents of the Constantia area in Cape Town have managed to win a legal battle against the service provider MTN to have what they are referring to as a “visually intrusive” MTN cellphone tower taken down.
It has been a lengthy and expensive seven-year battle to have the five-metre cellphone mast disguised as a chimney removed, with the cost amounting to R2.5-million.
Residents were reportedly asked for permission to upgrade the tower to super 3G back in 2012, but MTN never approved this upgrade with the City of Cape Town.
With the upgrade, the tower become larger and more of an intrusive eyesore than ever before, something that the residents had not expected or agreed to.
The court battle became increasingly long after the Constantia residents first took the network operator to the High Court in 2015. Once the residents had won the first court case, MTN took the battle to the Supreme Court of Appeal, it was here that the judgement was overturned.
The residents were forced to take the matter to the Constitutional Court, who has finally laid the case to rest, ruling in the favour of the disgruntled locals.
They won the case based on the legality of the tower; the issues raised had nothing to do with the possible health issues cellphone towers may cause.
MTN told MyBroadband that the removal of the tower will take time.
“It should be noted that the decommissioning of the site, the removal of the equipment, and the rehabilitation of the area will take about a month to complete. In the meantime MTN has switched off the site. Unfortunately, some customers within the vicinity of the site will be adversely affected by the reduced coverage and signal quality,” it said.