The Provincial government has condemned in the strongest terms the burning down of three telecommunication masts in the EThekwini area recently.
It is alleged that aggrieved members of the community set fire to the recently-installed 5G masts in Umlazi, KwaMashu and Ntuzuma yesterday resulting in multi-million rand damage to telecommunication infrastructure and massive disruption of communication services. The attack is partly driven by conspiracy theories which claim that there are dangers associated with the 5G network including that it may be driving the second wave of the Corona Virus epidemic. There is also allegation that the cellphone companies did not consult sufficiently with the community before erecting the towers.
On behalf of provincial government we condemn in the strongest terms threats and attacks on telecommunication infrastructure in any part KwaZulu Natal. We will not tolerate arson attacks and vandalism against infrastructure regardless of whether it belongs to government or the private sector. We cannot allow lawlessness to be used to resolve differences regardless of whether the community grievances are genuine or not.
We furthermore call on the SAPS to conduct a thorough investigation to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book as soon as possible. Based on that report we will engage all relevant parties to ensure that development by the private and public sector is delivered through honest consultation so that it benefits and brings communities together, and does not become a source of violence and division.
As we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution government, the private sector and the entire community should jealously guard telecoms infrastructure. This infrastructure represents much-needed investment in leading edge technology that is necessary for full participation in the 21st century economy. Today telecommunication is more than about receiving and making calls. Armed with massive data and the latest technologies we are able to access, attract and take advantage of economic opportunities and drive economic growth through information communications technology
We take this opportunity to reiterate government’s position on the conspiracy theories currently circulating on Social Media platforms which claim there may be a link between 5Gcapacity network and the spread of Covid-19.
In a recent article internationally-acclaimed scientist and University of Johannesburg Vice-Chancellor Professor Tshilidzi Marwala says “5G is not something sinister as conspiracy theorists may have you believe. It is merely a progression of our current technologies as societies increasingly go mobile and consume more data. It is imperative for us to embrace 5G because it is going to be the bedrock of the economy of the 21st century.
Prof. Marwala says that to understand 5G, “we must understand what preceded it. First came the first generation (1G) technology, which was when we started communicating with each other using only voice. Then came the second generation (2G) technology, which included text messages to voice cellular communication. Then the third generation (3G) technology, which allowed you to surf the internet and to send some pictures in addition to voice and text. Then came the fourth generation (4G) technology, which was a faster version of 3G, giving you the ability to download a movie in six hours, for instance. 5G technology is an evolution of this. It will be so fast that it will take 6 seconds to download a movie.
With 5G, government believes that communication will be transformed fundamentally. “For instance, surgeons will be able to use robotics to perform surgeries on the other side of the world because the reaction time is going to be very quick. Self-driving cars are going to be more common and car accidents will be fewer and fewer,” Prof. Marwala argues.
Prof. Marwala makes the point that because the wavelength is low for 5G, a transmitter cannot broadcast for considerable distances. Because of that, 5G requires you to have more broadcasting masts (big aerial) than 4G. 5G masts are going to be much closer to our homes, and this will have all sorts of implications for people.
“We should invest in research on the health impact of 5G. There is however no causal connection between 5G technology and any biological virus, including the COVID-19. The second concern around 5G is that it emits radiofrequency radiation that is dangerous to human health. The word radiation is scary because it is linked to nuclear bombs. Nuclear radiation is ionising and can modify the DNA and destroy cells. Non-ionising radiation like high-frequency electromagnetic waves are non-ionising and therefore, are not dangerous”, wrote Prof Marwala.
Indeed, as we battle the Second Wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and in the absence of any credible scientific proof to the contrary, we will not allow conspiracy theories to drive our response to this global and national crisis. We want to state categorically that we will continue to follow credible science as driven by our national government under the able leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa and the National Coronavirus Command Council working in collaboration with multilateral bodies such the World Health Organisation.
Issued by the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government
For more information contact
Lennox Mabaso – Provincial Government Communication on 0828842403 or
Thami Ngidi - 066 3066 793