|iBurst to turn on tower|
Monday, 30 November 2009 02:00
Wireless broadband provider iBurst is set to turn on its offending Fourways tower, if residents yet again fail to prove they are ill.
The tower at the centre of the debacle was constructed in August, and residents have since been claiming – in various media – that they are ill, with ailments such as skin rashes, headaches, vomiting, sleep disorders, fatigue, upset stomachs, tinnitus and other health conditions.
iBurst turned the tower off on 16 November, but is ready to turn it back on later today if proof of these illnesses is not provided, despite repeated requests by the company. The tower is located at a private cemetery, Fourways Memorial, in the suburb of Craigavon, and was activated on 12 August.
CEO Jannie van Zyl says he is ready for a meeting later this afternoon with residents, but they want to push the meeting out to Wednesday. He says he won`t accept a delay, as the community has a habit of requesting postponements, and then the meetings never take place.
In an e-mail sent to the residents yesterday, Van Zyl requests medical proof of the claims that some residents have made in the press. “As already communicated to you, if iBurst did not receive the requested proof, we will have no choice but to assume there never was any such proof and act accordingly,” he writes.
Van Zyl says the residents` committee has not been upfront with him, and has also not provided names of the people it claims are ill because of the tower. He says iBurst tests indicated the tower was well within the international radiation guidelines, and the levels being emitted were negligible.
However, iBurst consented to turning the tower off for two weeks so that the community could determine whether the mysterious ailments disappeared.
The community appointed its own engineer to test the levels from the tower, and Van Zyl has also requested the results of radiation tests that the residents undertook after the tower was turned off.
But a letter from the residents` lawyer, Bismarck Olivier, from Bezuidenhout van Zyl Incorporated, claims the residents are being cooperative.
The letter says the residents will submit the requested medical proof on Wednesday, which is when the residents` association has requested the meeting take place.
Olivier adds that the community has not been unwilling to resolve the matter. “The allegation that you are intentionally kept from engaging with residents directly is devoid of all truth and constitutes a transparent attempt to cast our client in a bad light.”
He writes: “As can be seen from the above, the community has attempted to communicate with you through our offices.”
Olivier also claims that Van Zyl failed to give the residents` technician permission to climb the tower to conduct tests. “Your failure/refusal in this regard has resulted therein that complete tests could not be carried out.”
The letter requests that the tower not be reconnected today.
Enough is enough
Van Zyl argues that the fact that the community is not willing to provide him with evidence is because there was never any intention to resolve the issue.
“It appears the only intention was to try and sensationalise the whole episode and to run a continuous defamatory programme against iBurst in the media, online and via pamphlets and posters, which was still ongoing last week,” he says.
Van Zyl also alleges the community has put up posters defaming iBurst, and the company is reserving its rights and may take legal action in future.
“I will instruct my engineers to reconnect the antennas on Monday by noon, but will keep the tower switched off till after our meeting the same evening,” he writes to the residents.
As soon as the tower is turned back on, Van Zyl expects it to be full of consumers surfing the Internet. “There is a big demand for capacity in the area, and it is affecting our network quite badly.”
Add your 2Cents
Newer news items: