Target:
Stellenbosch Municpality / Stellenbosch High School / Atlas Towers
Region:
South Africa

The residents in the area and parents of kids in surrounding schools have a constitutional right to be consulted on the erection of the Stellenbosch High School cell tower. This was not done, but instead this tower was erected one Friday afternoon / evening and forced upon residents, school kids and parents.
On the morning of 17 Sept 2016, residents of Uniepark, Karendal, Rozendal, Mosterdsdrift and Simonswyk woke up to a new 25m high cellphone mast on the sports fields of Stellenbosch High School. On 17 May 2016, Stellenbosch Municipality approved a Special Development Right to the school to have the tower erected and supported it because "it will not have a negative visual impact on its surroundings".
On April 2016, prior to this approval, the Municipality published an information sheet starting with: "the following MUST be taken into account in the preparation of all applications for the construction of telecommunication infrastructure". None of the criteria like being related to other structures, visual impact, environmental impact and heritage were applied to this tower, resulting in this 25m island of steel in-between single residential houses. Given the topography of the area, this tower is at the same height as many residents' bedroom windows!
Knowing the potential harm such a tower can cause, the Municipality washed their hands by making their approval conditional on the operator staying within the advisory limits of radiation that ignores long term exposure and pulse modulation and reserved the rights to revise their approval if further research link cell towers to health issues. Many concerned parents and residents, through social media and emails, have to date made Stellenbosch High School and the Municipality aware of other research suggesting a link to health issues, but they choose to remain willfully ignorant, even with the very young reported to be most at risk. It is easy for them to look the other way because proof will only be available in 10 to 20 years when someone gets sick.

This tower is simply unacceptable to us and should be removed.
The legality of the tower and approval is questionable, but even if legal, it doesn't mean it is right.
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We call on the Municipality of Stellenbosch to revise and cancel their planning approval given the defacement of our environment and heritage, blatant disregard for residents and the municipal guidance for telecommunication infrastructure and link to health issues.
We call on Stellenbosch High School to stop playing roulette with the health of our kids for the sake of financial return and to respect its neighbours and environment.
We call on Atlas Towers to remove their tower and find an alternative solution.

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