Telkom let us pray

The Goodwood Methodist Church isn’t saying how much it’s being paid to let Telkom build a cell mast on its property.

Telkom Mobile wants some vacant church land in Alice Street, Tygerdal, rezoned from single residential to utility to pave the way for the mast.

Warren Petterson Planners (WPP), acting on behalf of Telkom Mobile, has applied for a portion of erf 20527 to be rezoned.

Mr Petterson said the application was submitted to council on Thursday July 21 and the month-long public participation period started on Friday August 19.

“The planned compound will be 4m x 4m, with a 15m lamp post mast, a Telkom mini equipment container and three antennas,” he said.

In April, a similar application, by WPP, at a creche in Monte Vista was abandoned because of fierce opposition from residents fearing a possible health hazard posed by electromagnetic radiation as well as the aesthetic impact on the neighbourhood of a 15m-high mast (“Cellphone mast opposed,” Northern News, April 27).

Asked why there was a need for a mast at 208 Alice Street, when a cell mast is up at nearby Monte Vista station, Mr Petterson said the mast at the station was “at full capacity and could not accommodate additional Telkom Mobile antennas and equipment”.

In the earlier case, residents asked why the mast couldn’t be built at N1 City or the grounds at Goodwood prison, saying those spots would serve a wider geographical area.

The church’s neighbours aren’t in favour of the plan.

Berenice Jones’s house borders the church land. She is adamant she does not want “a monstrosity” on her doorstep. “It’s going to be unsightly. I don’t want it,” she said. Ms Jones said no one had sent her a letter telling her of the plan.

Her neighbours, Christo and Leandre Crafford, did not know about the cell mast proposal – they also said they had not seen a letter informing them of the plan, which they oppose, to build a cell mast next door.

Mr Crafford said they would like to start a family in the future and are worried about what effect a cell mast could have on a baby.

“Why here between the houses? There are big tracts of land elsewhere. It doesn’t make sense,” Ms Crafford said.

Telkom spokesman Gugulethu Maqetuka said a new mast was needed to meet growing demand in the area.

“To alleviate network congestion issues affecting our current customers and to insure a quality service to future customers, we needed to optimise our infrastructure in the area,” he said.

Mr Maqetuka wouldn’t say how much the church would be paid to accommodate the mast, citing a confidentiality clause in the lease.

Anton Theunissen, of the Property Trust at Goodwood Methodist Church, said WPP had approached them in December last year.

He said neighbours had been sent letters notifying them of the plan. He wouldn’t say how much the church would be paid, but said the lease was valid for four years and 11 months.

“The church is waiting for approval from all relevant organisations and residents, which Telkom is handling. We, the church, will address all concerns prior to installation,” he said.

The City of Cape Town said the application was for the rezoning of approximately 16m2 of church land.

Johan van der Merwe, Mayco member for energy, environmental and spatial planning,, said the matter would go to the Municipal Planning Tribunal if there were objections.

He said registered letters had been sent to surrounding homeowners informing them of the application.

Goodwood Ratepayers’ Association chairman Brian Lawson said he had no information on the application and referred Northern News to ward councillor Cecile Janse van Rensburg.

“I can’t have an opinion because I don’t know anything about it, Mr Lawson said.”

Asked if he should have been informed about the plan, he again referred us to the councillor.

Ms Janse van Rensburg said she did not want to pre-empt the public participation process.

“An application such as this one is dealt with in terms of a set process, and it is in the applicant’s as well as in the affected parties’ interest that the process is followed through,” she said.

* Residents have until Monday September 19 to raise objections to the application.

These can be emailed to or for more information contact Erhard Pienaar at 021 444 7507 or erhard.