Councillor questions City’s alleged secret deal with MTN

DURBAN North ward councillor, Shaun Ryley has submitted a motion to council requesting the executive committee launch an investigation into a suspected secret deal with cell giant MTN. The agreement between the eThekwini Municipality and MTN allegedly allows the latter to make use of existing municipal infrastructure in order to install cellular transmitting technology.

Several residents have complained about the erection of masts across the City on municipal land including the tower on Beachway and in Prestondale.

“Initially we were told that the masts were to be used for CCTV as part of the City’s rollout programme. However, other implements began to appear on the masts which are used for the transmission of cellular signals. It has also believed that MTN is responsible for the installation of the masts making it reasonable to assume that these towers have been primarily erected for the purpose of transmitting cellphone signals and only secondarily for CCTV.

Read Also: Mystery tower baffles residents

“We took a decision to table an urgent motion calling for an investigation as we felt that dealing with the matter immediately was in the public interest. The speaker allowed the motion to be considered but it was not carried out as the ANC voted against it without giving reasons,” he said.

One of the towers in Prestondale.

One of the towers in Prestondale.

Ryley added whenever telecommunications technology is installed (regardless of whether it is on private or municipal property) there must be a concerted effort to allow the public to give input.

Read Also: Towers are part of Integrated Development Programme

When the towers were first installed, the City’s head of communications, Tozi Mthethwa confirmed the municipality had embarked on a city-wide CCTV project which will include license plate recognition cameras. Mthethwa said the project was in line with the Municipal Integrated Development Programme which strives to create a ‘safe’ and ‘smart’ City.

However, when the Northglen News contacted Mthethwa earlier this week, she said the matter was being referred to the relevant department and could not comment further.

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