Council, Telecel on collision course

BULAWAYO City Council has accused Telecel Zimbabwe of constructing a number of base stations in the city without the approval of the local authority as required by law.

Report by Sheryleen Masuku Own Correspondent

According to latest minutes, council’s director of Engineering Services Simela Dube on December 6 said Telecel was setting up the base stations in violation of the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act and the municipal by-laws.

The local authority said the firm had developed 14 illegal base stations across the city.

“The illegally developed base stations were either on virgin council land, private properties or on council tower lights,” reads the report.

The base stations are reported to have been placed on council land and on tower lights in a number of townships throughout the city including Mpopoma, Nkulumane, Lobengula, Emakhandeni and Mzilikazi.

The local authority said all efforts to get Telecel to comply with the local authority’s by-laws were unsuccessful and council had since asked the regulatory authority, Potraz, to intervene.

“They have been advised of their misdeeds through a number of letters, which have never been responded to,” the local authority said.

“We have also copied our complaint to Potraz, the authority responsible for cellular networks.”

Council is demanding $150 for each base station.

Contacted for comment, Telecel Zimbabwe spokesperson Francis Chimanda denied the allegations, saying his company had complied with the city’s requirements.

“It is our understanding that the applications were tabled before a full council meeting in December 2012 and Telecel is currently waiting for the formal communication regarding those applications,” he said. “Telecel has also followed all the other procedures including neighbour notifications and placing adverts in the Press.

“Telecel works closely with the city of Bulawayo’s Town Planning Department and they have always assisted us in our network deployment efforts.”

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