News for South Africa
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|MTN faces court challenge to illegal roll-out of cell masts|
|South Africa||Created: 16 Aug 2018|
The filing of the papers follows almost two years of public outrage against these illegal cell towers.
THE Durban Anti-Cell Mast Alliance (DACMA), a residents lobby group created in 2017 to protest the illegal roll-out of MTN cell masts across Durban, lodged papers on Friday in the Durban High Court, asking for a review of the ‘secret deal’ that cellular company MTN concluded with the eThekwini Municipality in April 2016.
According to DACMA spokesperson Niki Moore, in terms of this deal, eThekwini Head of Disaster Management Vincent Ngubane absolved MTN from any regulatory processes when they put up their infrastructure across the city.
The filing of the papers follows almost two years of public outrage against these illegal cell towers. Despite numerous newspaper reports, community activism, council questions, applications via PAIA, legal correspondence and public meetings, neither eThekwini municipality nor MTN have done anything to explain how this situation came about, or whether they intend to rectify it.
Moore said in court papers, a group of applicants asked for an urgent High Court review of this ‘secret deal’. She said MTN and eThekwini Metro are accused of disregarding by-laws, disregarding town planning schemes, contravening national legislation such as NEMA, health and safety guidelines and the Civil Aviation Act, contravening Section 33 of the Constitution, contravening PAIA, contravening PAJA, contravening the Municipal Systems Act, and committing fraud.
“We have been forced to go to court because both MTN and eThekwini Municipality have consistently lied about this secret arrangement. This infrastructure roll-out was completely unprocedural and secret, with the result that MTN put up cell masts, hundreds of them, next to creches, schools, old age homes, on people’s pavements, in play parks, right outside their homes – with absolutely no consultation, no site planning, no permissions, no scoping, no public process,” said Moore.
She said the research the group had done had shown that the roll-out was completely unnecessary, as none of the masts increased cellular connectivity in areas where it was actually required.
“MTN has done the cellular telephone industry no favours. By proceeding illegally and unprocedurally, they have raised huge concerns about their industry in the minds of the public. Now people are really talking about cell masts, and the effects they are having on property prices, the environment, and people’s health.”
While DACMA is not against the need for reliable communication technologies, they believe there are better ways to go about it. At the moment, the impact of long-term high-frequency microwaves on humans and the environment is relatively unresearched – and the research that does exist is causing alarm amongst scientists.
“The cell companies hide behind the fact that they abide by so-called ‘international limits’, but they suppress the fact that these limits have been unchanged since 1998, are based on discredited science, and do not take into account the massive changes in technology in the last ten years. We know that cell masts are unsightly, and that no-one wants to live near one, but we still don’t know what they are doing to us and our environment,” said Moore.
She said it was nonsense that municipalities, who make money out of cell mast rental can dismiss any community concerns about the unverified effects of cell masts from the people who are forced to live right next to them.
“We are hoping that this court case will make both municipalities and mobile telephone companies stop and think about their reckless actions.”
Councillor Chris Pappas also recently reported that the Democratic Alliance (DA) in eThekwini would continue to vote against the erection of cell towers unless reasonable and unbiased information was provided by the municipality regarding health effects on residents and impact on property values.
Pappas said the DA wants the City to conduct an independent study into the health effects of cell towers and the impacts of cell towers on property values, as well as to provide an updated and comprehensive policy on telecommunications infrastructure in the city. This came after a Town Planning Appeals Committee meeting recently, which was attended by an assembly of mobile network operators (cell phone companies) and companies who build cell masts and then rent out the space.
“The public should be aware that the City of eThekwini will not be considering health effects of any particular mast when adjudicating appeals and objections. So if your chief concern in objecting to a cell mast is the health concern you will be wasting your R5 000 appeal fee. However, it is residents’ constitutional right to appeal and the decision will rest with individuals whether to appeal or not,” he said.
Pappas said there were other very relevant issues on which residents can appeal, and these appeals must be based on scientifically proven facts or justified town planning reasons.
The illegal MTN roll-out in Durban sparked concerns about the sudden proliferation of cell masts across the country. As a result of public concern, citizens across South Africa founded a national lobby group National Alliance Against Cell Masts (NAACM). The aim of this group is to assist people to combat unwanted and unnecessary cell masts in South Africa, to pressure the South African government into revising microwave radiation limits from cell masts, and to lobby for communication technologies that are less potentially harmful.
Contact 031 205 8331 or 071 932 8925 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: Berea Mail, Lauren Walford, 09 AUg 2018|
|Glenwood residents feel effects of cell mast transmissions|
|South Africa||Created: 11 Feb 2017|
THE effects of cellphone masts on the immediate environment is under the spotlight once again - Residents living in proximity to a mast that has been erected in Rick Turner Road raised the alarm after they became aware of symptoms they believe could be attributed to the electromagnetic waves emitted by the mast which was switched on in December.
Resident, Andre van Rooyen, said he has always been sensitive to electromagnetic waves and in early December started to show specific symptoms which he eventually realised he had been exhibiting since the mast started transmitting.
“I really was not feeling myself and was feeling exhausted at night. Usually I work until about 11pm on paperwork, but by 9pm I was asleep on the couch in front of the TV. I was then having restless nights, waking up at 2am and feeling exhausted in the morning. I also noticed my wife was tossing and turning in her sleep. We were also arguing a lot and my wife was experiencing lower back pain and unexplained weight gain,” he said.
After speaking to other residents in the neighbourhood, van Rooyen realised he was not the only one experiencing similar symptoms as neighbours confirmed they were experiencing the same thing.
“I spoke to a woman living over the road who said she had also gained a lot of weight and said her hormone levels had also increased. My wife went to the doctor and a test confirmed her hormone levels had gone stupid! Another resident said her hands had started swelling, and those people who were usually home during the day said all they did was sleep, as they felt so run down,” he said. Van Rooyen said it all became apparent after he went to the Transkei on holiday in December, and had felt perfectly fine again, and his sleep patterns returned to normal while he was away.
It was not only Van Rooyen and his wife who exhibited unusual behaviour and symptoms, Van Rooyen added that his dogs had also started to act strangely one dog, a maltese poodle which had always had a good temperament had suddenly become noticeably agitated.
“My son’s dog is his best friend, but the dog bit him recently, and when my friend visited with his daughter, the dog bit her. I noticed our dogs were also off their food and my neighbour’s dog also stopped eating,” he said.
Once the pieces of the puzzle started to fall together in Van Rooyen’s mind, he went down to the mast and confirmed with a technician on site that the mast was transmitting to a dish on the top of the Pastoral Centre nearby. He mapped the transmission in a straight line over the residential properties to the centre. What he noticed was that the tops of the trees, which fell in the line of the transmission, were all dying. Investigating further, Van Rooyen said after making enquiries with residents living on properties which fell in line with the transmission they all confirmed they were being affected in some way while those living on properties effectively blocked by other houses or situated on the periphery of the transmission, showed no signs of being affected.
When the mast caught fire towards the end of December and had to be switched off, Van Rooyen said residents noted that they no longer exhibited the symptoms and even their pets had returned to normal and were eating again.
Another resident, an educational psychologist, Sylvia Shepherd, said: “I cannot tell you how terrible you feel. They are beaming this transmission straight at us – we are in the direct line of this. You can absolutely tell the mast is not working at the moment. Radiation from these masts stops the functioning of the lymphatics system which affects the glands, and this is probably why residents have started to gain weight. The effects of this is so much greater for children than adults, as their skulls are thinner. That is why in the UK they don’t allow masts in close proximity to schools. In articles on the internet, doctors have stated categorically that there will be an impact on children, and that is why they have taken this problem so seriously in Europe. I am concerned as there are so many schools nearby.”
Shepherd said, as far as she was aware, this was the first time a mast had transmitted so low in a suburb, that it was being beamed at homes.
“There have to be by-laws to protect us from this. This has been foisted upon us, we were given no opportunity to object and as ratepayers, the municipality works for us. It is unacceptable that these masts are so close to houses and schools,” she said.
Van Rooyen said he had approached a technician from a local cellphone company who confirmed that when he worked near these towers his body temperature increased.
“It’s like a microwave and the body temperature increases by a couple of degrees. If there is no scientific proof that these towers don’t cause damage to people living nearby, why is it that this technician has to shut down the tower if he is working within three meters of it?” he asked.
Van Rooyen said he had called on a herbalist at a local shopping centre to for medication to help him sleep and while he was there had spoken to other customers. He was told by another resident that he had been experiencing the same symptoms, but that he didn’t live in the same area.
“I did a drive around and mapped out the masts and cellphone transmitters in the area. I noticed there was an antennae on the top of a nearby building which pointed straight at his house. Another resident living in this same road approached me last week and was shocked when I showed him the antennae, which he hadn’t noticed before,” he said.
Van Rooyen said he had done a lot of research on the topic, and discovered a multitude of articles on this issue. “Something needs to be done to protect the people, especially children, living in the area,” he said.
What the experts say:
In correspondence with Berea Mail, Dr Lauraine Vivian, a medical anthropologist from the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town, said there was abundant evidence of increasing numbers of people affected by EMR from cell masts who suffered with symptoms of electro-hypersensitivity which was what these residents were describing.
“Currently, because of monetary gain and poor regulations, the industry and government is able to implement the technology with no regard to people’s distress. It would seem that the practice is that complaints will go away as residents acclimatise to the new environment,” she said.
Dr Vivian said numbers of ‘reports of harm’ or ‘fear of harm’ are needed for action to be taken. “The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection make their estimations by searching publications and conclude no harm, but as we know people feel stigmatised and afraid to come forward and if they do their claims are dismissed as hysterical. It is important to report this issue so people can understand their symptoms and secondly, it breaks the stigma that prevents them from speaking up,” she said.
Tracey-Lee Dorny from the Electromagnetic Radiation Research Foundation of South Africa highlighted an article in the Ecologist, 12 January 2017, entitled Krakow’s bold step to curb electromagnetic pollution reflects growing evidence of harm, by Lynne Wycherley, which mentioned newly published papers in the UK which showed DNA or organ damage to WiFi-exposed animals, raising questions about people’s habitual close exposure to routers and boosters.
The article confirmed Van Rooyen’s opinion that trees in the line of transmission were being affected, as it mentioned a landmark study in Germany in September which revealed progressive harm to trees from the growing microwave radiation.
The article claims that other 2016 peer-reviewed studies on cell towers found genetic effects in nearby residents. The article confirmed Sylvia Shepherd’s statement about the effects on children, and stated that around the world, research showing children’s cell-phone radiation absorption was higher than adults’, especially in the brain and bone marrow, which is continually being overlooked.
An article published on PubMed.gov on 28 August 2015, discussed a cross-sectional case control study on genetic damage in individuals residing in the vicinity of a mobile phone base station.
It revealed that the continuously emitting radiations from these stations had raised health concerns. The article said that in a study conducted, participants comprised 63 people with residences near a mobile phone tower, and 28 healthy controls. The results showed the genetic damage parameters of DNA migration length, damage frequency and damage index were significantly elevated in the sample group compared to respective values in healthy controls.
In response to queries by Berea Mail, eThekwini Municipality said: “As a caring City, eThekwini Municipality prioritises the well-being and health of its citizens. The matter was referred to the relevant Unit for urgent investigation, the outcome of the investigation will determine the necessary action to be taken.”
A health survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/emrrfsa-health-survey has been developed to record numbers of people suffering with EHS or cancer.
“It is important that people in South Africa know about it,” said Dr Vivian.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: Berea Mail, Lauren Walford, 10 Feb 2017|
|EMR action-day today|
|South Africa||Created: 23 Apr 2016|
Worldwide EMR Action Day aligns with Earth Day to protect the biological integrity of the natural world and all its inhabitants against unnatural Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR). With this endeavour, people from around the planet join together to reduce harm from EMR and create a healthier life for all.
Visit the website: http://www.emractionday.org/
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: EMR Action-day, 23 Apr 2016|
|Space Race 2.0: Avanti claims headstart in bringing Africa online (editor comments below article)|
|South Africa||Created: 14 Jul 2015|
Avanti Communications has already made it into orbit in its mission to improve global internet coverage, the company's chief executive tells Sophie Curtis
The second great space race is underway. This time, rather than putting a man on the moon, the aim is to make internet access available to the two-thirds of the world that are not yet connected.
The primary target is Africa, a continent with a land mass the size of the USA, China, India and Europe put together, but with a population of 1.1bn – less than India alone. The dispersed population means that traditional methods of internet delivery, such as laying fibre cables in the ground, are often expensive and impractical.
Satellite broadband provides a more economical solution because, although it is expensive to build and launch satellites, once they are in orbit they can provide internet access over vast areas, and rather than digging up the ground or erecting masts, a satellite dish is all that is required to receive a signal.
Several companies have caught onto this idea. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has announced his intention to bring internet to parts of the world that are currently unconnected as part of his Internet.org initiative.
Meanwhile, Sir Richard Branson is supporting WorldVu's OneWeb project, which aims to put 648 micro-satellites into low Earth orbit to provide high-speed internet and telephone services, and Google has teamed up with SpaceX, founded by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, which has a similar plan to provide internet access from space.
However, one British company is way ahead of the game. Avanti Communications, a London-based satellite operator, already has a satellite in space covering large parts of Africa – including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi – known as Hylas 2.
Another satellite, Hylas 3, will be live for commercial service in 2016, and Hylas 4 will launch in 2017, completing Avanti’s coverage of Sub-Saharan Africa.
“From the outset, Avanti’s business model was about Africa. The reason for that is the economics, the teledensity, the demographics of Africa strongly favour satellite,” said David Williams, chief executive and co-founder of Avanti.
“You also have a rapidly-growing middle class with the emergence of revenues from offshore oil and gas production, and growing demand for mining products. There’s plenty of capital in Africa now, so we think we’re in the right place.”
Mr Williams was interested in space from a young age. In 1969, aged just three months, he sat in front of the TV at home in Wales and watched Neil Armstrong take his first steps on the moon.
He went on to study economics at Leeds University, and after a two-year stint as the frontman of a rock band called The Watchmen, Mr Williams ended up moving to London and getting a job in the City, working for JPMorgan Chase. He was still keen to pursue his musical dream, but found he had no time to form a band.
“It was around that time that some kids I was at school with became famous. They were called Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon, and I watched Blur become the biggest band in the world thinking, I wish I’d done that,” said Mr Williams. “So I had this latent need to do something a bit more rock-and-roll than banking.”
For the Daily Telegraph by Sophie Curtis.
Read the whole article at Source:
Comments by editor: Agnes
This is truly bone chilling, they (Telecommunications Industry) are being "Handed/Given" our Planet and the space which surrounds it for free!
Since when did the earth/air/space we all share become the "Property"! of Capital Exploiters?
And, Just as Important, WHO has given the go ahead which allows them to use our Environment and surrounding space in such a way??
Ask yourself who, but please don´t stop there, ask the "People In Power" ie our Governments, councilors, MP´s and all in power.
I cannot recall having been asked, I bet you cannot either, But, very Importantly: We are the Inhabitants here! Its Our PLANET AND OUR NEAR ATMOSPHERE SPACE, someone is giving to the Capital Exploiters!
This will mean Electromagnetic Microwave Radiation radiating on us, not just from the Huge Structures of the phone masts but also from above!
There will be No Respite Anywhere!
I include here a link to a You Tube demonstration of the sounds of Wi-Fi which goes on to demonstrate sounds of Other Wireless EMR´s which are now a part of the EMR SOUP, which we call "Airwaves" and where we all need to live our lives.
This is powerful stuff!
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: Agnes Ingvarsdottir|
|'Cellphones fry young brains'|
|South Africa||Created: 12 Dec 2014|
The Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa) has issued a stern warning: giving children cellphones and other wireless technology devices carries enormous risks.
"Their skulls and brains are still developing and the radiation from cellphones practically 'cooks' their brains," said Professor Michael Herbst, head of health at Cansa.
A child's brain is cased in a thinner skull and absorbs more radiation than that of an adult.
Dr Devra Davis, president of Environmental Health Trust, a group of global epidemiologists, said: "Retailers are going all out to make devices affordable, and parents are clamouring to buy them. But the standards are based on old models and old assumptions about how we use them."
Studies in Europe found the bone marrow of a child's head absorbs 10 times more radiation than that of an adult, while the brain tissue absorbs twice as much.
"These warnings from [the health trust] are supported by Cansa," says Herbst, "The South African public is totally involved with technology but do not seem to be aware of the inherent dangers."
iPads, for example, contain radiating antennae that should not be held directly on the body, but children's arms are not long enough to create the distance. Babies play with cellphones, and mothers speak on the devices while breastfeeding.
Because of the lag between exposure and disease, said Herbst and Davis, the risks are not taken seriously enough.
"We may definitely see an increase in the incidence of brain disease in the future," said Herbst.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: Times Live, Tanya Farber, 11 Dec 2014|
|The Painful Side Of Technology|
|South Africa||Created: 4 Jun 2013|
While hundreds of millions of people around the world cannot live without their mobile phones, South African Alwyn Lewies simply cannot live with his.
Lewies suffers from electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), a disorder which prevents the sufferer from being around electromagnetic fields for extended periods of time.
Those who suffer from EHS generally experience severe pain or skin outbreaks when surrounded by electromagnetic fields, which include cellphone signals.
With technology growing by the day, along with its electromagnetic fields, Lewies is forced to seek refuge on the outskirts of Cape Town, where the signals are weaker than in the city itself.
Lewies has been sleeping in his car for the past 13 years in a bid to keep his disorder under control, moving around to where he feels more comfortable whenever needed.
Click through the gallery to see Lewies in his bakkie, the only place which allows him to live a 'normal' life...
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: Sylvie/Agnes Ingvarsdottir|
|Cellphones and Wi-Fi drove me to a life on the run|
|South Africa||Created: 4 Jun 2013|
An agonising aversion to electromagnetic frequencies has plunged one man into a invinsible hell, writes Oliver Roberts
AT 8PM every night, Alwyn Lewies knows it is time. He tells his two young children that he is leaving. At the front door, standing half in light, half in darkness, he kisses his wife, Adri, goodbye and tells her that he will see her in the morning. Then he gets into his double cab and sets off for a farm 47km away. It is the only place where he can sleep.
When he is on the road, he can feel them pursuing him. When he passes some spots, he senses their presence edging closer, then they fade from him. Coming, going, coming, going. He looks for them in his rear-view mirror, but it is pointless. For 13 years they have been shadowing him, yet he has never seen them.
"The only way I can explain it is like putting clothes pegs on your ears and keeping them there," he said of his elusive huntsmen.
"I feel like I can't breathe sometimes. I get heart palpitations. "
The thing is that they are everywhere. They are with you right now coming out of your cellphone, TV, light fittings except that you do not feel them. Not like Alwyn Lewies.
Since 2000, when he lived in Pretoria, he noticed he could detect the strength of cellphone signals like some kind of human radiation device. Later, he would come to know the exact moment anyone within reasonable distance of him switched on their Wi-Fi
He was in constant pain. He could not sleep. His skin tingled. He heard buzzing sometimes inside his burning head. He had tests done, scans. Nothing. They gave him antidepressants. The symptoms got worse.
Lewies, 39, began to monitor his pain. Soon he realised his headaches and extreme discomfort existed only when he was on his cellphone, near a television or electric motor, and especially near Wi-Fi.
In 2004, after seeing more than 100 doctors, he was finally diagnosed as having electromagnetic hypersensitivity, or EHS. Basically, he has an allergy to electromagnetic fields, exacerbated by heavy-metal poisoning, the result of working with petrol for many years.
EHS currently has no diagnostic criteria, so it is not regarded as a medical condition. However, it is estimated to occur in about 5% of the world's population. In 2004 the World Health Organisation held the first of several seminars devoted to EHS, at which the biological and health effects of electromagnetic frequencies were discussed.
Lewies ' s "diagnosis " assured him that he was not mad or touched by demons.
He had to leave his job at a construction company because he could not work near cellphone towers. He and his wife had to sell their house and move in with his parents. The only spot in the house where the pain subsided was a small area on the dining-room floor. He lived and slept there for weeks, like an animal chained to a block.
There was an opportunity to stay on a sheep farm in the Karoo. His wife and young daughter settled in Cape Town. His son was born. On the farm, the pain subsided, but he had no family.
"I had to get closer to them," he said, "but I couldn't move back to the radiation."
So he went back to Cape Town. In an attempt to be normal, he put up with the pain during the day, disappearing at night to drive around alone, searching for concealed pockets of respite so that he could get some sleep. But vagrants came with weapons and torches. One night a drunk driver crashed a few metres away from him while he was dreaming.
The family moved into a small cottage in Gordon's Bay in 2007. Lewies had to sleep on the kitchen floor, but at least the radiation was fairly low. Two years later, in the manner of a medium discerning a paranormal entity, he felt a new signal in the area. It was strong. His head, his whole body, might explode.
"I had to leave my family again. My two small kids were too young to understand why I was abandoning them.
"The idea of me having to sleep in my car once more was unthinkable. I didn't know which pain was worse the burning sensation in my head or the heartache."
And so the wicked pact continued. If Lewies could detect an opening, a hole that the electromagnetic waves had not yet filled, he would be able to sleep.
Next, Wuppertal in the Cederberg. No cellphone reception there. His family lived 400km away and travelled every second weekend along a dangerous dirt road to see him.
But then the waves returned, tugging at his ears. He imported special radiation-blocking steel mesh. He built a cage in the garden of his Somerset West home. It failed. The waves somehow got in. He had no job. His wife was battling for money.
Back to Pretoria. He found a farm close to Polokwane with no signal. For nearly a year he lived in a tent and saw his family sometimes. His mattress and belongings, were flooded by summer thunderstorms.
Today he is back in Somerset West, still jobless.
He has a bed in his double cab where he still sleeps every night on a farm in Hangklip. He guesses that he has spent more than a thousand nights on that mattress. He wakes up drowsy for lack of air; he dare not sleep with his windows open.
The farm belongs to a psychologist who is allowing Lewies to use it for the time being. "I don't know what I'm going to do when he tells me I can't sleep there."
Not knowing what to do. This is nothing new, nothing daunting. At one low point during all of this, Lewies slept underneath some protective wire mesh, on a section of rocks, in a cold, dark crack of the Hermanus coastline.
At his home in Somerset West, he took out a piece of paper and a pen. On the coffee table, he started scribbling his next solution: an underground bunker.
When he is at home, almost all the electricity is permanently kept off. It is switched on only to cook food. When night falls, only low-wattage lamps are permitted.
He said he knew of at least 100 other people who suffered from EHS, some with even worse symptoms than him, and almost all of them are divorced.
He and his wife have been married for 10 years and he estimated that only three of those have been spent sleeping by his wife's side.
"Life is tricky," said Adri. "For us it's becoming normal, but when we're in a conversation with someone and they're talking about the braai or the school play they went to, we realise we ' re not normal.
"It's a miracle that our marriage has survived. There are times when we fight because he's frustrated or I'm frustrated. I expect certain things from him, but I know I'm not allowed to expect normal things because he's not a normal man."
Lewies has many times considered suicide. But his faith in God has maintained him.
In the garden, he pointed out the small, shallow hole that he has dug in preparation for the bunker, the last resort.
He has experimented. He has put a cellphone in the hole and covered the opening with an aluminium sheet. No reception. Impenetrable. They cannot get in.
"I think this is how hell is going to be," he said, recounting the despairing years spent roaming the countryside for a place to lay his head, for a place to feel normal.
"In hell, you're not going to find a place to rest. You'll just keep going, and going, and going."
By Oliver Roberts
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|Source: Sylvie/Agnes Ingvarsdottir|
|Masts, mafias and murders|
|South Africa||Created: 13 Nov 2012|
Masts, mafias and murders
A longstanding fight with the South African company Vodacom (a subsidiary of Vodafone plc) over illegal wireless masts has erupted again, and I have decided to put on record some of the fraudulent activities of this company and its senior executives in this regard.
In this post, I will show direct and sustained links between top Vodacom executives and a prominent lawyer with known close connections with organised crime -- a lawyer who subsequently fled the country after (a) shooting a client dead in his law office, and (b) looting his own trust funds of millions of rands. The whereabouts of this lawyer, one George Michaelides, are currently unknown. http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/2011/11/06/mystery-of-the-missing-millions
I am also making public a document that was drawn up to help the prosecuting authorities in South Africa to pursue fraud charges against one Leslie Cohen, an attorney who acted along with George Michaelides for Vodacom in the case of the Anastassiou family, who fought to remove an illegal 20m-high mast that Vodacom erected 11m from their prime property, overlooking Sandton in Johannesburg -- one of the most prosperous suburbs in the whole of Africa.
Michaelides, Cohen and another attorney (of whom more later) were charged with professional misconduct over their role in this business. http://www.mast-victims.org/index.php?content=news&action=view&type=newsitem&id=3575The charges of misconduct against all three were "frozen" because there were fraud charges outstanding against Cohen arising from the same affair. What this had to do with the misconduct charges against the other two lawyers is not clear.
In order to facilitate the justice process, I helped draw up the fraud charges against Leslie Cohen, so that the misconduct hearing could go ahead. In the end, the prosecuting authorities decided not to pursue these charges against Cohen. Nonetheless, I feel it is worth revealing the entire complex chronology of this saga in the document prepared for the prosecutors. Legal eagles can take a look and decide for themselves whether there was fraud involved in the way the Anastassious were bullied into selling their home.
This document for the prosecuting authorities details how Vodacom systematically lied to the Anastassiou family, telling them that they had lost all the court cases they had brought to remove the mast. As we shall see, this was a deliberate deception. On the basis of this lie, Vodacom fraudulently persuaded the family to sell their home to the company.
Crucially, Vodacom also persuaded the son, Dino, to sign an agreement -- drawn up by Vodacom, with his father's name printed below the space for signature -- which formally withdrew the family's objection to this mast. The father was suffering from terminal Alzheimer's disease, and was unable to sign for himself. This healthy, competent and gracious gentleman regularly drove his own car and was perfectly functional up to the time the mast went up, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease a few months after the mast started operating, became completely incapacitated and dependent, and subsequently died from this terrible illness. I have no doubt, all things being even, that he would still be alive if that mast had not been erected.
Dino Anastassiou is adamant that he was browbeaten by Vodacom into signing this agreement over his father's name, and that Vodacom were perfectly aware that the signature was not that of the person named in the document.
As soon as Vodacom had this signed document in hand, they rushed immediately that same afternoon to the Johannesburg City municipality lawyers, to get them to withdraw a case the City was about to bring the very next day in the High Court to get this illegal mast removed.
In their legal papers prepared for court, the City's lawyers said that Vodacom: "Apparently seeks to justify its said unlawful conduct by stating that it has done so on numerous previous occasions!" (exclamation mark in the original). It is thus clear that the City was aware of many other illegal Vodacom masts, and that Vodacom had made explicit reference to these illegal masts in order to justify the one in contention.
On the basis of this signed agreement, the City of Johannesburg withdrew its case against Vodacom. The City's lawyers have since stated that if they were aware that the signature on the document was not that of George Anastassiou the father, as stated, they would never have withdrawn the case. It is clear that Vodacom was terrified of this case going to court, and the CEO of the company at the time, Alan Knott-Craig, claimed on another occasion that he had personally come from a sickbed to try persuade the Anastassiou family to sell their home, in a meeting in a pizza restaurant. http://mybroadband.co.za/vb/showthread.php/143444-Vodacom-s-Dot-Field-and-Alan-Knott-Craig-act-like-they-are-mafia It is obvious that it was a matter of the utmost urgency for the company to make sure this court case never went ahead, even if it meant committing fraud.
Present on the day the family was persuaded to sell their home was Pieter Uys, then COO and later CEO of Vodacom. As CEO, he attended the hearing at the Law Society that arose from these events.
Most interesting on that fateful day at the Anastassiou house was the physical presence of one Dorothy Field, http://www.whoswho.co.za/dot-field-4974 then corporate communications manager for Vodacom, who has since left the company. A strange aspect of this case is that Field previously used to visit this very same house in order to receive beauty treatments, and was a friend of Mrs Teresa Anastassiou, the wife, who ran a beautician business from the custom-designed premises. Mrs Anastassiou asked Field to help in this case; Field replied (and this is confirmed in an affidavit she made) that she would be prepared to help the family, ONCE ALL COURT CASES HAD BEEN FINALISED.
Field's physical presence in the negotiations to buy the house thus confirmed to the family that there were indeed no outstanding court cases, as Vodacom was insisting. As will be seen, this was an outright lie, and the City of Johannesburg had a strong outstanding case against Vodacom regarding this mast. Since this lie on Dorothy Field's part to the family is repeated in an affidavit, it also constitutes perjury.
What is further interesting is that the house was not actually purchased by Vodacom, but rather by a "front" company operated by an employee in the legal firm of George Michaelides, one Maria Christine Fernandes. In the hearing before the Law Society, George Michaelides described Fernandes as "just our secretary". Investigations revealed that she is actually the director of over a dozen companies, including the one that bought the Anastassiou house: Scarlet Ibis Investments 23 (Pty) Ltd. Details (including part of the transcript of the Law Society hearing) can be found here. http://www.buergerwelle.de/assets/files/scanjob_20090602_173500.pdf?cultureKey=&q=pdf/scanjob_20090602_173500.pdf
This becomes extremely interesting in light of George Michaelides's sudden departure, stealing unknown millions in trust funds (some estimates put the amount stolen at over R100 million). This sudden flight also brought to light extensive connections between Michaelides and a number of known criminals, and in fact the killing committed by Michaelides in his office was just the beginning of a series of murders that occurred within this criminal circle. http://amabhungane.co.za/article/2011-03-25-the-murders-five-bodies-and-counting There have been several more killings since the report referenced here, and I have evidence of an even earlier murder that may have been connected with this. I posted details of this alleged murder here http://mybroadband.co.za/vb/showthread.php/445491-Shameel-Joosub-appointed-Vodacom-CEO/page6 see the post marked "Warning: Graphic Content".
We subsequently received information from a reliable source within Vodacom (described as "Source B" in the above post) who informed us that there was a major money-laundering operation being run by Vodacom and Michaelides Attorneys. Front companies owned by the latter were buying properties, using money that Vodacom was writing off as "legal fees". This source produced documents showing other extremely questionable property deals being done through the same channels.
In 2009 I became aware of a "secret" KPMG investigation into wrongdoing at Vodacom involving the then-CEO, Alan Knott-Craig. I phoned KPMG, and was referred to their "Vodacom expert". He denied any knowledge of such an inquiry. I told him that I knew for a fact that there was indeed such an inquiry, and told this "expert" to pass on some of the above information to the relevant investigators, particularly about George Michaelides and the shady front companies he was operating, buying properties on Vodacom's behalf.
Later, when this KPMG inquiry was publicly confirmed, http://mg.co.za/article/2010-01-22-vodacom-storm-in-a-bee-cup it became apparent that serious evidence of nepotism by Alan Knott-Craig had been uncovered, but it was all quietly hushed up by the Vodacom shareholders who commissioned the inquiry. I am certain that KPMG took no action on my information, even when it became evident that George Michaelides was indeed very crooked.
And we do know for a fact now that George Michaelides was up to no good. The Law Society has seized his files and is trying to unravel the tangled web of criminality in which he was involved. No information has been forthcoming from the Society as to what they have found. But there is no question that top Vodacom executives were deeply involved in extremely questionable business with this man.
Also interesting in this regard is that a third lawyer was also charged with misconduct before the Law Society in the Anastassiou case, one Eleni Christodoulou, who was a senior executive at Vodacom before she suddenly departed. It is now clear that she had been charged with perjury http://www.witness.co.za/index.php?showcontent&global[_id]=31405 following serious lies http://www.fin24.com/Companies/Tribunal-fingers-Vodacom-lawyer-20080724 she apparently told the competition authorities in South Africa on behalf of Vodacom, and this was why she suddenly left the company.
In the Law Society hearing into George Michaelides, Leslie Cohen and Eleni Christodoulou, Michaelides stated that it was "common knowledge" that his wife was in fact Eleni Christodoulou. This was news to me, but it made certain connections very clear. While the husband, George Michaelides, was given Vodacom money to buy up properties using various front companies, his wife was right at the top of Vodacom's legal services, and until her hasty departure from Vodacom when perjury charges were laid against her, would have been in an excellent position to make sure that any wrongdoing was covered up.
During this long-drawn-out legal saga with the Anastassious, Vodacom used the attorney Leslie Cohen extensively. I just want to put one last comment from Cohen on record.
On the day the Anastassious were bullied into selling their home, much against their wishes, a high-powered delegation, including the Chief Operating Officer, Pieter Uys, senior legal executive Eleni Christodoulou, and the Chief Communications Officer, Dorothy Field, arrived completely unexpectedly at the house, to begin the browbeating. At one point, Dino Anastassiou was outside with Leslie Cohen, while negotiations were proceeding within with the rest of the family. Cohen actually said the following to Dino: "Dino, I want to thank you. I've made a lot of money from you."
This saga shows just how corrupt and venal Vodacom has been since its very inception, and how it deploys its enormous resources to use the legal system to browbeat and crush people who get in its way. It is a very sad indictment of the state of corporate governance and the legal profession in South Africa.
In 2009, Dino Anastassiou made the essence of this information available directly to the CEO of Vodafone, http://www.scribd.com/doc/17171664/Vodacom-AllegationsSuspicions-in-South-Africa- and there is absolutely no way that Vodafone can say they were unaware of allegations of major, systematic illegality with Vodacom's infrastructure. Nor can Vodacom deny its extensive involvement with the now-fugitive lawyer, George Michaelides. How much of Vodacom's money disappeared with him will probably never be known. This is what happens when thieves fall out ...
So: what does Vodafone plc intend to do about allegations of systematic criminality among executives of its subsidiary?
Perhaps Vodafone can begin by looking at the criminal charges I laid against one Jannie van Zyl, http://www.mast-victims.org/index.php?content=journal&action=view&type=journal&id=227 one of Vodacom's present executives, dating from when he was CEO of the company iBurst in South Africa. (Incidentally, one of the charges of nepotism that the KPMG report detailed, was Alan Knott-Craig's installation of his son, Alan Knott-Craig Jr, as MD of iBurst, so there was a very close connection between these companies).
Van Zyl's ignominious departure from iBurst saw him return directly to Vodacom, where he was originally employed. Please examine this criminal charge sheet to see what a track record of lies and deceptions this top Vodacom executive has left behind him. These criminal charges stand. Is this the kind of person Vodafone endorses as a senior executive?
Below, now, is the document we drew up to pursue fraud charges against Leslie Cohen. Again: it must be emphasised that for one reason or another, the prosecuting authorities decided not to follow up on these charges. But the facts below all stand, and you can make up your own mind as to whether Vodacom acted legally and ethically in this case.
Again: this is a terribly complicated case, and I am grateful to anyone who has read this far. But these charges below took us months of painstaking work to draw up, and I do not wish this effort to go to waste. Since there is nothing sub judice here, there is no impediment on my releasing the full background history of the extremely dodgy purchase of the Anastassiou family home by Vodacom -- or rather, by the front company it used, Scarlet Ibis Investments 23.
Informant: Karl Muller
BACKGROUND OF EVENTS relating to fraud charges laid against Mr Leslie Cohen, attorney acting for Vodacom Ltd in the purchase of the home of Mr George Anastassiou and his family
Given the complexity of this case and its long history, a chronology is provided to facilitate understanding of its background. Mr Constantino Anastassiou (“Dino A”), the elder son of Mr George Anastassiou (“Mr A”) and Mrs Teresa Anastassiou (“Mrs A”) -- married in community of property under Egyptian law -- has assisted with the legal affairs of the family in this case.
1.0 Early 1990s: The Anastassiou family purchases Ext 5 erf 498 in Hurlingham Manor, 7 Dewetshof Place, a cul de sac chosen for its tranquillity and hilltop view of Sandton. They erect a purpose-built house for Mrs A to run her licensed beauty salon.
2.0 1996: The owner of the next-door property (erf 499) applies for rezoning to accommodate parking for his garage business across the road. After an appeal, the Townships Board allows parking on the stringent condition that “NO STRUCTURES WHATSOEVER (INCLUDING CARPORTS AND CANOPIES) SHALL BE ERECTED ON THE ERF”, final approval being given in March 1997 by the MEC.
3.0 January 27 1998: Vodacom erects a 20-metre-high mast and cellphone base station on erf 499. It appears that there are no plans, no permission sought or any approval given by the City Council for this installation. The Anastassiou family are surprised to find a mast, base station and equipment installed 11 metres from their home and blocking their view. An investigation by the family to establish the legality of the mast finds that there has been NO LEGAL APPROVAL for the erection of the structure. This is confirmed by Mr J Bosman, executive director of Development Planning, Transport and Environment of the City of Johannesburg, who declares that there is no file relating to the approval of the cellphone mast, and NO RECORD THEREOF on the government register. This is recorded in the Sandton Chronicle of August 31 2001 (Annexure 1).
4.0 September 4 2001: Two letters from Moodie & Robertson, attorneys acting for the Johannesburg City Council, are sent to Vodacom and the owner of erf 499 respectively, telling them that no structures are allowed on the property and instructing them to remove the cellphone mast (Annexures 2 and 3).
5.0 September 10 2001: Vodacom applies for erf 499 to be rezoned to accommodate the already-standing cellphone mast.
6.0 October 15 2001: A letter is given by hand to Dino A from Councillor Amos Masondo, Mayor of Johannesburg, confirming that instructions were given to Vodacom to remove the mast, and that Vodacom HAD NOT COMPLIED with the request; and that papers were being drawn up by the City’s lawyers, Moodie & Robertson, to seek a court interdict to have the structure removed (Annexure 4).
7.0 November 13 2001: The City of Johannesburg files a Notice of Motion, Case No 01/23978, for an interdict in the High Court to restrain Vodacom from using erf 499 for immovable property in contravention of the town planning scheme as this property was not zoned to accommodate such a structure.
8.0 April 25 2002: The Planning Tribunal makes a determination to approve the rezoning.
9.0 May 2 2002: Mayor Amos Masondo writes to Dino A telling him that his allegations of irregularities, bias of the Tribunal and non-action on the part of the Council’s attorneys are to be investigated, and he will be advised as to what action will be taken. His request for a full hearing is under consideration.
10.0 December 11 2002: the amendment to approve the rezoning is promulgated.
11.0 January 6 2003: Mr A and his family lodge an appeal against this rezoning on the grounds that Vodacom was seeking de jure approval for what had been done illegally when the mast was erected in January 1998.
12.0 May 8 and June 10 2003: Tribunal hearings of the Townships Board are held at the property in Hurlingham Manor.
13.0 October 23 2003: It is recommended by the Townships Board that the appeal be upheld and the rezoning overturned.
14.0 July 24 2004: Vodacom counter-appeals on grounds that the Townships Board gave a wrong fax number for submissions, and makes an application to the High Court to have this decision set aside. This matter is heard in February 2006.
15.0 April 20 2006: Following this High Court appeal, Vodacom gets a decision from the High Court setting aside the appeal against the rezoning, on the basis of the wrong fax number. As a result of this judgment, Vodacom makes representations to Moodie & Robertson that the effect of this is to reinstate the status quo ante, and the interdict application must fail. Moodie & Robertson take the view that this legal conclusion is incorrect as the rezoning had not been perfected (see Annexure 5).
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MEETING WITH VODACOM CEO AND CHIEF COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER
16.0 Friday April 21 2006: Dino A receives a telephone call from Dorothy Field, chief communications officer of Vodacom, asking him for a meeting with her and Alan Knott-Craig, CEO of Vodacom. They meet in Amici Pizzeria in Hurlingham Manor.
16.1 Knott-Craig tells Dino A that he has come out of hospital especially for this meeting. He says that he is worried that the mast may have to come down. According to Dino A, Knott-Craig says that “money is no problem” and offers him R4 million as some kind of unspecified settlement. Dino A refuses the offer and Knott-Craig then makes an offer of R4.5 million. Dino A avers that he did not know what this offer was in settlement for. Dino A replies that this offer is worthless with the family still having to remain in the house under the dangerous radiation of the cellphone mast. Dino A tells Knott-Craig that the house is on the market with a value of R2.5 million nett, and tells Knott-Craig that he should consider taking the house as well, subject to his parents’ approval; but adding that his father Mr A suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. He suggests that there should be six months’ free rental to allow his parents time to relocate. Knott-Craig appears to agree with this suggestion to buy the house and provide ex gratia rental.
16.3 Dino A is left with the understanding that a total offer of R7 million is to be made: R4.5 million for the unspecified settlement, and R2.5 million for the house. Knott-Craig says it is a deal, and shakes Dino A’s hand. He leaves, and Dino A confirms the figure of R7 million with Field, subject to his parents’ approval.
16.4 Field tells him that Vodacom “never loses a case” and won’t hesitate to take legal action for their costs if the family does not agree to the settlement.
16.5 That afternoon, Dino A speaks to his mother about the offer, which she was not interested in as she did not want to leave the house.
16.6 Dino A sends an SMS to Field and tells her that he is depressed; and that his parents have asked him to tell her to stop the deal, because they will “lose everything” and Dino A will be in trouble with his family. This SMS is confirmed in an affidavit dated November 10 2008 from Field.
17.0 Saturday April 22 2006: Field calls Dino A several times to see if he has persuaded his parents to accept the deal, but Dino A explains that his mother Mrs A runs a business from the house, and does not want to sell. There are several more calls from Field to Dino A on that Saturday and the next day.
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UNEXPECTED ARRIVAL OF VODACOM DELEGATION
18.0 Monday April 24 2006: Field calls Dino A again to see if his family have agreed to the settlement, and asks whether they have stopped fighting with him yet. Dino A tells her via SMS that the family still refuses, but says that he wishes to keep his word to try to convince them to accept the deal.
18.1 Later that morning, Field arrives unexpectedly at the house with a delegation. The family is surprised by this and lets them into the house. A meeting takes place in the house with the following people from Vodacom:
- Dorothy Field, chief communications officer of Vodacom;
- Helen Christodolou, in-house Vodacom attorney who drew up the documents;
- Maria Christina Fernandes, whose position is not known but who works for
Michaelides Attorneys, who are doing the conveyancing for Vodacom;
- Leslie Cohen, an attorney, part of the legal team appointed by Vodacom and
involved in this case from the outset;
- Pieter Uys, then chief operating officer (now CEO) of Vodacom.
18.2 There were drivers/bodyguards who remained outside the property, and the family avers that they felt hugely intimidated by the unannounced arrival of such a high-profile delegation. Dino A specifically confirmed with one of these people that he was a bodyguard.
18.3 Dino A is presented with a Memorandum of Agreement indicating a settlement of R2.5 million for the withdrawal of his father Mr A’s appeal (Annexure 6). Dino A tells his mother that this is not the amount offered for the settlement, and suggests that she phones her son-in-law Jiorgio Vlahakis as he does not want any further involvement in the matter. Vlahakis phones Field, who is still present at the house. According to an affidavit from Vlahakis dated December 12 2007 (Annexure 7), Field is at first reluctant to go into detail, so he asks her to confirm that the settlement figure offered is in fact R4.5 million EXCLUDING the sale of the house. She tells him he is “very well informed”, but that he and his wife Christina Vlahakis will also have to sign the confidentiality agreement, and he agrees, although he says it will take them time to come from Alberton. For details of this discussion see abovementioned affidavit made by Christina and Jiorgio Vlahakis dated December 12 2007.
18.4 This sequence of events is later confirmed by Christodolou in a statement to the Law Society dated November 10 2008 (Annexure 8), and CONTRADICTS Field’s affidavit of November 10 2008 (Annexure 9) that Field herself had spoken to Vlahakis over the weekend. Nonetheless, Field’s affidavit confirms that she advised him that he was “well informed” that the settlement figure was R4.5 million.
18.5 Mr A -- who was not present at any discussion -- is then brought in to sign a Memorandum of Agreement:
- as a conclusive settlement for the withdrawal of the appeal against the mast;
- an agreement confirming his intention to withdraw the appeal via an affidavit (to be drawn up by Vodacom);
- to get written confirmation of the withdrawal of the appeal from the Townships Board; and
- to undertake to sign a Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreement.
In terms of the Memorandum, Vodacom undertakes to pay R2.5 million in return for the withdrawal of the appeal.
18.6 Dino A is outside talking with Cohen and the driver/bodyguard when his father Mr A sign this Memorandum. Both Mr A and Mrs A also sign the Title Deeds for the sale of the family’s home while Dino is outside. These Title Deeds are removed by Vodacom when they leave, and no copy is left for the family. Dino A only gets sight of these documents in 2008 through a complaint made to the Law Society in 2007.
18.7 Mrs A, who did not want to sell her home and did not understand the documents, says she was convinced by Maria Christina Fernandes to “sign here” on the understanding that the family would receive a total of R7 million. Mrs A confirms this in a hearing before the Law Society of the Northern Provinces on November 12 2008 (Page 99f of the transcript of the hearing).
18.8 Jiorgio and Christina Vlahakis arrive at the house a couple of hours later. Dino A is then called inside and asked also to sign the Memorandum of Agreement between Vodacom and his father, in the space provided above his father’s printed name. His father has apparently signed in the wrong place, lower in the page. Dino A tells them that he has no power of attorney to sign on his father’s behalf, and that the amount indicated of R2.5 million was NOT what was agreed in the discussion with Knott-Craig and Field. They tell him to sign nonetheless. Later, not in Dino A’s presence, next to his signature the words “Constantine Anastassiou under power of attorney” are added on Page 11 of the Memorandum of Agreement, apparently in the handwriting of Christodolou, who also filled in the names of the parties to the settlement in writing on Page 5 of the Memorandum. This addition was only discovered by Dino A when a requested copy of the Memoradum was delivered to the house the next day.
18.9 He is told by Uys and Cohen that the R4.5 million was to be attributed to the sale of the house, separately from the R2.5 million contained in the Memorandum, SPECIFICALLY CONFIRMING to Dino A and Mrs A a total amount of R7 million.
18.10 Dino A is then asked to sign the Withdrawal of Appeal against the mast as specified in the Memorandum of Agreement with his father Mr A (Annexure 10). He tells them once more that his father has Alzheimer’s disease and that he, Dino A, does not have Power of Attorney to sign on his behalf; they tell him to sign nonetheless, which he does.
18.11 This Notice of Withdrawal is delivered to Moodie & Robertson at 2:11pm on the same day by Leslie Cohen, as confirmed by the date stamp on the document. Neither Moodie & Robertson nor Vodacom informed Dino A that there was a High Court case on the matter set down for April 26 2006, two days after the Memorandum was signed under such extreme pressure. Dino A avers that he would NOT have signed this document if he had been aware of the imminent case.
18.12 Field, on Page 2 of her affidavit (Annexure 9) says she informed Dino A by phone on April 21 2006, the same day as the meeting with her and Knott-Craig, that the matter in the High Court HAD BEEN SET ASIDE. She states that Dino A indicated that he was unaware of this. In fact, the matter WAS SET ASIDE ONLY on April 26 2006, as confirmed by the covering page of the High Court file in the matter. On Page 1 of the affidavit, Field states that she offered to help Mrs A with the relocation “once the matter is no longer in court”. Her presence on Monday April 24 2006 therefore indicates to the family that the matter had been legally settled -- TWO DAYS BEFORE the court hearing.
● Cohen in his testimony to the Law Society (Annexure 11, Page 31-33) states that the house was bought by Vodacom “very generously” for R2 million, considering that there had not been an offer on the house. He adds that an additional amount of R2.5 million was paid as financial compensation for “loss of memory and a host of other delicate conditions”.
● Field says on Page 2 of her affidavit (Annexure 9) that the HOUSE was bought for R4.5 million in full and final settlement, some R2 million more than they had been offered on the market.
● Christodolou in her statement to the Law Society dated November 10 2006 (Annexure 8) also states that the amount of R4.5 million “was to be attributed to the sale of the PROPERTY”.
Apart from the contradiction between Cohen and the other two, NONE of these parties mentions the Memorandum of Agreement, which specifies an amount of R2.5 million for the Withdrawal of Appeal.
18.14 Moodie & Robertson indicated in a letter dated October 8 2008 (Annexure 12) that they were unaware that the Notice of Withdrawal had not been signed by Mr A himself. Cohen was aware at the time he presented this document that it was not signed by Mr A, and that Dino A had no power of attorney to sign on his father’s behalf.
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DINO ANASTASSIOU AVERS THE FOLLOWING:
1) Besides being directly told at least three times, Vodacom were aware that Mr A suffered from Alzheimer’s disease through several mentions of this fact in the media, and knew that he was not fit to sign any legal document. See Saturday Star on October 30 2004 (Annexure 13), which states that his father Mr A “has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease”, and that Dino A had been diagnosed with lymphocytosis, an early form of leukaemia.
Christodolou in her statement to the Law Society (Annexure 8) confirmed that Vodacom were aware of the media coverage.
Vodacom were thus aware that they were concluding an agreement with someone who was not of full mental capacity. His signatures on April 24 2006 all differ from his signature on his driver’s licence, his normal signature. Tthese do not appear to be his normal signature, and on the Memorandum of Agreement he signs his name “Anastasssiou” with three s’s.
2) When Dino A signed the Memorandum of Agreement between his father and Vodacom, he told Vodacom specifically that he had no power of attorney to do so. He told them again at that point that his father had Alzheimer’s, and they could see that he did not know what he was signing. Dino A was nonetheless told to sign, and he did so. Dino A states on Page 3 of an affidavit dated June 22 2009 (Annexure 14) that considering his medical condition of clinically diagnosed depression and the “constant intimidation that was imposed on me to convince my family to settle, has caused me to become under duress”. See Annexure 15 for details of the antidepressants, sleeping tablets and tranquillisers he was using from January 2006.
Mrs A made reference to an old and revoked power of attorney; however it was made clear to Vodacom that this was no longer valid.
3) Christodolou says in her statement (Annexure 8) that Mr A joined the discussion only to sign the documents; she says that while he was “clearly elderly and ailing”, she did not have the impression that he did not understand the settlement. Yet she herself, as well as Field in her statement (Annexure 9), note that HE WAS NOT PRESENT when the settlement was being discussed, and that he was unaware of what he was signing.
4) Vodacom submitted the Withdrawal of Appeal to Moodie & Robertson knowing that the signature was not that of Mr A, but that of his son Dino A. The Memorandum of Agreement stated that an affidavit (to be provided by Vodacom) would be signed by Mr A to confirm the withdrawal; no such affidavit was ever signed by Mr A. Other conditions of the Memorandum, including that Mr A obtain written confirmation from the Townships Board of his withdrawal of Appeal, were also not fulfilled.
5) Given that the Memorandum of Agreement was signed by Mr A, the question needs to be asked why NONE of the other obligations placed on him by the Memorandum of Agreement, including signing the Withdrawal of Appeal and the Confidentiality Agreement, were fulfilled by him. The General section of the Title Deeds (Annexure 16, Page 9) states: “This Agreement is subject to the due fulfilment of all the obligations arising under in terms of an Agreement concluded between George Anastassiou and Vodacom (Pty) Ltd and failing such due performance, this Agreement will be deemed to be null and void and of no force and effect.” Given that it appears that George Anastassiou did not fulfil ANY of these obligations, it therefore appears that the sale of the house is null and void.
See Annexure 17, an affidavit drawn up by Vodacom on behalf of Mr A, which is signed by Dino A as the deponent instead of Mr A, and which has not been authenticated by a Commissioner of Oaths, or dated.
6) Vodacom were aware that they were once again facing a High Court action brought by the City of Johannesburg, set down for April 26 2006 with no further postponements allowed; and it is apparent that this was why they urgently concluded an agreement with this family, in the process:
- severely compromising the legality of any agreements by obtaining the signature of a man who clearly did not understand what he was signing;
- violating the rights of Mrs A, who was clearly not happy with the sale of the house, and was coerced into signing on promises of a R7 million settlement which did not materialise;
- ignored the fact that Dino A was himself depressed (Fields’ affidavit, Annexure 9, shows she was aware Dino A was depressed), had no power of attorney, and was not authorised to conclude the agreements which they told him to sign.
7) Dino A obtained a judgment on September 21 2006 in the High Court declaring his father to be of unsound mind and incapable of managing his own affairs (Annexure 18).
It is recommended that Vodacom, represented by Uys, Field and Christodolou, and its legal representatives Cohen of Law Chambers as well as Michaelides Attorneys as represented by Fernandes, be charged with fraud. Misrepresentation took place when documents were presented to Moodie & Robertson for the removal of an Appeal against a mast which the City Council said was illegal, and which documents Vodacom knew were not signed by the appellant named in the Withdrawal.
In the concise Heads of Argument from the City of Johannesburg to the High Court dated April 24 2006 (Annexure 19), the City states that Vodacom “apparently seeks to justify its said unlawful conduct by stating that it has done so on numerous previous occasions!” (sic). It appears that Vodacom resorted to desperate measures to prevent this case from coming before the court.
Vodacom over a period of at least eight years have gained huge profit illegally, and have resorted to fraudulent means to overcome objections to the mast -- there were 128 objections from the community -- and in doing so have severely compromised the lives and wellbeing of an entire family.
|Source: Karl Muller|
|Radiation debate rages on|
|South Africa||Created: 31 May 2012|
The debate around the effects of cellphone technology on human health rages on, as recent reports and developments once again bring to light the disparate camps of conviction.
A report by the UK's Health Protection Agency, based on the Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation's (AGNIR's) 2003 review, last month intimated there is no conclusive evidence that radiation from cellphones poses a threat to the public's well-being.
Concerned parties have since spoken up, accusing the telecommunications industry of propagating “half truths” and “wrong facts” and trying to “cover up the truth”.
Peter Heindl, a researcher and geopathologist for the Institute of Geopathology SA, says he is concerned at the “fundamental mistakes” made by industry professionals in delineating the phenomenon of cellphone radiation.
Heindl refers to a statement by Strategy Worx MD Steven Ambrose in an article, “Updated report writes off radiation fears”, published on ITWeb earlier this month, in which Ambrose said, comparatively, cellphone radiation is low. Ambrose noted: “To put things into perspective, the FM radio and TV transmitters, that sit within a few kilometres of most urban homes, send out radio frequencies of a [radiation] magnitude greater than most cellular phones.”
However, says Heindl, “it is not only the level of radiation that is causing [health] problems, but also the specific frequency and the actual wave form of the signals being transmitted”.
He says, to date, all present radio and television transmission towers in SA still transmit analogue signals. “These analogue signals, at the given frequency, are much easier tolerated, even though they are a thousand times higher than the currently used signals and frequencies of cellphones – especially wireless local area network (LAN), WiFi, WiMax and Bluetooth – which are all working at 2.4GHz. The frequency used in a microwave oven, however, is 2.45GHz, which is optimised and used to excite water molecules to cook food.
“Even though the radio and TV station would be pushing out 50 000W (50kW) in comparison to the 2W (0.002kW) of a cellphone, I am still not holding it close to my ear or head/brain.
“The ordinary FM broadcast band is in the range of 87.5MHz to 108MHz and TV channel frequencies range from 41.25-253.25MHz (VHF: 30MHz to 300MHz), 470-956.75MHz (UHF: 300MHz and 3GHz or 3000MHz) – depending on the country. However, the cellphone uses the 800/900MHz and also the 1 200/1 600/2 100MHz frequency bands, which are getting very close to the actual centre frequency of your microwave oven, which works at exactly 2.45GHz (2 450MHz).”
Quiet 'cover up'
Tracey-Lee Dorny, chairperson of the Electromagnetic Radiation Research Foundation of SA and an avid campaigner against the harmful effects of cellphone technology on human health, points out that the AGNIR report mentions a number of male fertility studies. If the results are aggregated, says Dorny, 78% of the studies listed found decreased measures of male fertility or damage to sperm. She says, however, that the report separates these, making it harder to view all of the evidence for fertility together and misleading the reader.
“Protecting public health means being honest about risks so that people can make informed choices. Telling people that everything is ok when the majority of studies are finding decreased fertility is not being honest or transparent about the facts.”
Heindl says it is “quite obvious” that specific parts of industry are embroiled in a “cover up plan” – a scheme he says started when cellphones were first introduced.
“We can most certainly no longer keep quiet. [The public] has to take a stand for the sake of our own health and well-being [and that of others] who are in the dark about this.”
Heindl says the adverse effects of cellphone technology radiation are reaching an “epidemic state” abroad. “SA is closely following the US and Europe and it will take a short time until we have caught up. The circle will close when further implementations and rollouts are made, especially [with] 4G being implemented soon.”
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: ITweb.za, Bonnie Tubbs, 29 May 2012|
|EMR Action Day : 5 June 2012 is World Environment Day|
|South Africa||Created: 19 May 2012|
Dear Valued Friends and Colleagues
21 April 2012 has come and gone and what is left is the satisfaction of having seen the public beginning to question the sanity of humanity's use of man-made electromagnetic radiation.
Reports came in from far and wide about celebrations of natural communications, protests against the non-natural, radiation-measuring walks through towns and cities, wireless-free-day encouragement, petition signing, smart meter removals, moratoria and white papers, and even the education of women to take the dastardly phone out of their bras!
It was exciting and rewarding to be part of EMR Action Day. If nothing happened in your area, please start doing some forward thinking as to how YOU can make a splash next year - and well before then! Every drop eventually makes up an ocean.
Our heartfelt thanks to all who participated and a special thank you to those who did all-nighters behind the scenes in preparing material, website, petitions, brochures, stands at Earth Day events etc.
If you would still like to tell us how you were involved, please do so.
Here are some upcoming events in which we encourage your participation. (Should your organization wish inclusion of your future events in our bi-monthly newsletters, kindly forward a 2-3 liner for acceptance and publication to mail to:email@example.com
MAY 31 is the first anniversary of the WHO classification of RF Fields as a possible carcinogen, The telecom industry and US federal government continue to deceive the public. Join our national rally in front of wireless stores this May 31 to demand our RIGHT TO KNOW! YOUR support is greatly needed. For details contact Ellie Marks (California Brain Tumor Association) firstname.lastname@example.org
5 June 2012 is World Environment Day and it is important that our struggle is brought firmly into the realm of the environment. To keep the impetus established alive here are some suggestions for Tuesday 5 June
Show the movie Full Signal in your local venue
Have a picnic/protest in an open space that is under attack from masts (position yourselves away from the beams!)
Hold a gathering, with suitable media coverage, around trees that are being killed by the radiation. Put fabric (not plastic!) ribbons/sashes around
these precious creations.
Encourage friends (and even foes) to have a wireless-free-day once a month or more frequently.
A protest in support of the One Code 4 MCS/EHS to recognise EHS – just 5 MEP are needed to start the campaign. Let’s get the rest of the MEP in Europe interested. An awareness event will very soon be organized using the idea of carrying shielded umbrellas as well as placards across street crossings - easy to do all over Europe and a sure publicity catcher.
Regarding the Petition, a reminder that filled in petitions (even if incomplete) should be scanned and e-mailed to email@example.com. The originals should be mailed to:
EMR Action Day, P O Box 2093, Northwold 2155, South Africa.
Please collect signatures at every opportunity and once we have a reasonable number, these will be presented to the UNEP and WHO.
The importance of language utilized cannot be understated and it is imperative that we sing from the same hymn sheet. The phrase “OPT OUT” as promulgated by the smart meter industry is a carefully laid trap and should not be entertained. Replace it with “REFUSE” in all demands in literature, correspondence and in court. To accept “opt-out” means that there has already been “buy-in” with a subjugation of rights, which is UNTRUE. It also gives the other side the way back in, at a later stage. “Refuse” stops it dead in its tracks. These guys are clever and we need to call their bluff! Let us meet strength with strength.
Remember to go to the website (www.EMRActionDay.org) which includes scientific and medical studies which are only a click-away. These carry a lot of clout in arguments.
EMR Action Day exists to encourage others and strengthen their voices in this vital work that is being done by more and more people all over the world. We honour you.
EMR Action Committee
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: Agnes Ingvarsdottir.|
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