Duynefontein rezoning welcomed

A cellphone giant’s plans for a cable-landing station in Duynefontein have been welcomed by the ward councillor and the Melkbosstrand Ratepayers’ Association (MRA).

MTN has applied to rezone 21 Samuel Close, in Duynefontein, from “community” to “utility” for a cable-landing control centre to hook up its fibre-optic cables with the 17 000km underwater Africa Europe Cable (ACE) linking South Africa, West Africa and France. Plugged into ACE, the cellphone company says it will be able to operate an international fibre-optic bandwidth in South Africa, providing more affordable and effective transport of voice, data, internet and television services.

“I believe this is a necessity and imperative for our area and the digital era we have entered,” said Ward 23 councillor Nora Grose.

The deadline for public comment on the rezoning application is Monday October 9.

“The cable will support the objectives set out by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), and provide a means of fulfilling the South African government’s requirements in terms of digital television broadcasting for the country,” MTN said in a statement.

Smokie la Grange, the Melkbosstrand Ratepayers’ Association chairwoman, said that so far no residents had approached the association voicing opposition to the plan. She said any building in the area should blend in with existing architecture.

“As for the underwater cables, while they used to come ashore on Melkbosstrand beach at 14 Avenue and be housed in the Telkom station further up the road, it was only a matter of time before another telecommunication company could afford to do that same thing,” said Ms La Grange.

The City said it could not comment on the specifics of the case as the application was “still following due process”.