Karl Muller, an activist concerned about the effects of radio frequency radiation on human health, has filed criminal charges against Wireless Business Solutions (WBS) at the Brixton police station in Johannesburg.
Muller (pictured), who says there is overwhelming evidence that radiation from cellphone towers is harming people’s health, has accused WBS — which operates a wireless broadband network through its iBurst subsidiary — of erecting masts in contravention of planning regulations.
He has also accused iBurst CEO Jannie van Zyl of conducting a “medical experiment” on the residents of Craigavon, a high-density suburb north of Johannesburg, without their knowledge or consent.
In response, iBurst has denied Muller’s accusations, and has said it would welcome the opportunity to test them in court. “For the past few months, Mr Muller has been making increasingly more damaging and far-fetched allegations, alleging criminal activity on the part of wireless operators in general, and iBurst in particular,” the company says in written response to questions from TechCentral.
“For the past four years, iBurst has been rolling out a wireless network that uses base stations similar in nature to the familiar cellphone masts,” the company says. “These are built and operated according to accepted international safety standards, which have been enforced by the local regulatory authority.”
iBurst says it “welcomes” Muller’s decision to press charges as “his claims would now need to be reviewed and tested in open in a court of law”.
Muller claims in his supporting affidavit to the police that the type of microwave broadband wireless technology used by iBurst has “been shown to be particularly dangerous to human health and the environment”.
Among many other things, Muller has accused WBS of:
- Erecting at least 13 — and possibly more than 50 — iBurst base stations “illegally”;
- “Systematically” erecting masts without going through the necessary planning processes;
- Conducting an unconstitutional experiment on Craigavon residents.
The last accusation relates to complaints from some of the Johannesburg suburb’s residents about health problems, including skin rashes, they developed in the wake of the construction of a new iBurst mast in their neighbourhood.
Craigavon residents, led by Tracey-Lee Dorny, have campaigned to have the tower removed and have threatened legal action against iBurst — see Furious residents vow to pursue iBurst matter, New twist in iBurst tower battle and Furious Fourways residents head to court over iBurst tower.
During the height of the battle between iBurst and the residents earlier this year, Van Zyl switched off the offending mast for about six weeks. “During the period of all these health complaints, the tower was never actually switched on,” he told TechCentral at the time. “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.”
But Muller is angry about Van Zyl’s “experiment”. He says it was an “explicit violation” of section 12 of the constitution’s bill of rights, which “clearly forbids any medical or scientific experiments from being carried out on anyone without their informed consent”.
But iBurst says Muller’s accusation that it conducted an “unconstitutional medical experiment has no rational basis”. It says it takes its “role as a conscientious operator of radio technology seriously and rejects Mr Muller’s allegations as both irresponsible and absurd”.
It says further that Muller’s allegations are “either factually incorrect, based on fanciful conspiracy theories or pseudo-science, or refer to mundane procedural or documentation errors that were picked up by iBurst and resolved with the regulator”.
Muller, who has filed the charges against WBS in his personal capacity, says the case has been transferred from the Brixton police station to Linden, and will be investigated by the police’s commercial branch. The docket number is 853/04/2010. — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral