New twist in iBurst tower battle

Jannie van Zyl

Wireless broadband provider iBurst believes it has definitive proof that a base station it operates in Fourways, north of Johannesburg, is not to blame for health problems afflicting some of the residents there.

Residents of the Fourways community of Craigavon have threatened to take iBurst to court to have the base station removed, alleging that radiation from the tower has made them ill. They also claim that iBurst did not follow the correct procedures in erecting the base station. (See “Furious Fourways residents head to court over iBurst tower“.)

Now, iBurst CEO Jannie van Zyl (pictured) says the company had quietly switched off the Craigavon base station. “During the period all these health complaints were made, the tower was never actually switched on,” he says.

Van Zyl also refutes claims that iBurst did not follow the necessary environmental approval process.

He says that during a meeting with residents on 16 November 2009 — six weeks after the tower was switched off — the residents again claimed that their ongoing health problems were caused by the tower.

“A number of residents and/or their staff confirmed that they were still experiencing symptoms such as rashes, headaches, and the like, and that these symptoms disappear when they leave the vicinity of the tower,” Van Zyl says.

“Residents quoted periods of hours, or, at most, two days to see an improvement in the symptoms experienced. One lady who showed us a rash claimed that when she went home for the weekend, the rash disappeared. Another said headaches disappeared when she went home at night.

“However, at that point, the tower had already been switched off for many weeks,” Van Zyl says.

“It became apparent that the tower could, in no way, be the cause of the symptoms, as it was already switched off for many weeks. Yet the residents still saw symptoms that came and went according to their proximity to the area.

“Whatever caused their symptoms, it was now a fact that it could not be the iBurst tower.”

The base station was switched back on in the second week of December, Van Zyl says.

Craigavon resident Tracey-Lee Dorny, whose house is next to the iBurst tower and who has been spearheading the drive to have the tower removed, was not immediately available for comment.

Dorny told TechCentral previously that at least 40 people had developed symptoms she believed could be ascribed directly to electromagnetic radiation from the tower.  — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral

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  • http://www.neuromance.co.za halicon

    So is iBurst publicly admitting that they were involved in an unconstitutional large scale medical experiment?

  • Chris

    I love iBurst! People didnt have enough to complain about and instead of going to court and proving / disproving that the tower is responsible for all the “ailments” in the area, they switch it off. No cost to them and they prove that these ailments are just in the peoples head (no pun). I say well done, a company that was actually thinking how to solve a problem without any cost to them!
    All SA companies can learn from them, and most of the SA people too.

  • n3ptun3z

    I have to admit, that was a stunning coup from iBurst! I will however agree with their position not to refute that these ailments actually exist, and a serious investigation needs to be done to confirm these cases. It is notoriously dubious of Dorny and crew not to furnish medical examination documentation and for affected individuals to actually come forward and be seen. One would think with their families health on the line, being shy is the last things they would want to do.
    There are 2 VERY SERIOUS & possible reasons for this: 1) this community is being exposed to toxic waste and the perpetrator is working overtime to divert any possible media attention to iBurst by encouraging and working up the community and Dorny’s emotions and have them react irrationally… 2) there is an attempt by a property development company to drive down property prices in the area for some tactical reason and the results are ALREADY apparent.

    A more far fetched probability is that there is a resource in the area that a company wishes to exploit and can only do that by rendering the area uninhabitable – have residents move out and then set up operations there.

    What ever the problem is I seriously hope the department of health gets involved to resolve the problem and the perpetrator brought to book. I just hope for Dorny’s sake she isnt being malicious because if she is, iBurst should come down on her so hard they make a good example of her!

  • http://woganmay.com Wogan

    I don’t know what they’re complaining about. I’d love the chance to live that close to an iburst tower.

  • Garth

    Good one Wogan!

  • http://www.neuromance.co.za halicon

    @Chris No thanks Chris. I don’t think companies should perform illegal large scale medical experiments on me without my knowledge, nor build their ugly towers without following proper process. I know we live in Africa, but let’s show the world we are past… the past with regard to violating basic human rights.

  • http://www.sadev.co.za Robert MacLean

    @halicon – where does it say that iBurst did “perform illegal large scale medical experiments”?

    I read that they did the responsible thing of shutting the tower down, in case it was at fault and when time proved it wasn’t they went back to business as normal.

  • http://www.neuromance.co.za halicon

    @Robert if iBurst chose to lie about when the tower is off, and are using this as their evidence that the tower does not cause health issues, they have performed an experiment on people without their knowledge.

    Fact: iBurst have lied to the public. There is nothing responsible behind that kind of action regardless of what they say or you say our constitution says differently and you need to consider who the court will side with here?

    the constitution, or public opinion?

  • Garth

    Surely if this was true, this wouldn’t be the only mast frying residents?

  • http://www.sadev.co.za Robert MacLean

    @halicon –
    1) ah I follow your logic now (re: medical experiment).
    2) What proof do you have that they are lying or not lying about the time and dates the tower was off? (assuming that is what your second paragraph is about).
    3) Why is it not responsible to stop an action that people are complaining about until the truth is understood? Sounds very responsible to me. I would agree that turning it on and off if they knew of a problem, however I have seen no proof in that regard.

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