Concerns about the Fifth-Generation (5G) technologies and infrastructure health risks are widespread, but they have no basis in fact, the country’s communications watchdog ICASA said on Monday.
ICASA said it continues to note media reports with regards to the deployment of 5G technologies and infrastructure and its purported relation to the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“The Authority would like to urge all South Africans not to be swayed by these conspiracy theories that are hell-bent on bringing instability and fear within the nation.”
On 6 April 2020, ICASA debunked these conspiracy theories that link the spread of COVID-19 to the deployment of 5G technologies.
ICASA said it would like to reiterate its position that the development of standards for International Mobile Telecommunication for 2020 (IMT-2020) and beyond (commercially known as 5G), is continuing at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU); and that the administration, including ICASA, contributes and participates in these processes.
“We all need to rely on scientifically-based evidence and refrain from these baselessctheories. Some of the frequencies earmarked and trialled for 5G deployment by industry players were previously assigned to various operators in South Africa – way before the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in 2020. Such fake theories can only cause despair and unnecessary technophobia among South Africans and must be strongly condemned”, says ICASA Chairperson, Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng.
South Africa adheres to the relevant standards prescribed by both the ITU and the
World Health Organisation (WHO), with the former’s focus being primarily on the
regulation of radiofrequency electromagnetic field emissions.
“The Authority confirms that type-approved electronic communications facilities provided in the country adhere to the prescribed standards and that there is no evidence that they pose any health risks to the country and/or its citizens.”
Last week, mobile telecommunications infrastructure belonging to MTN and Vodacom was torched and destroyed in KwaZulu-Natal, possibly as the result of conspiracy theories linking 5G roll-out to the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.