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|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.|
|It's worldwide EMR Action Day!|
|South Africa||Created: 21 Apr 2012|
Please visit the website to support the initiative and download materials for raising awareness and petitioning.
Worldwide EMR Action Day aligns with Earth Day 2012 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.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: EMR Action Day, 21 Apr 2012|
|Cellphone masts damaging our brains?|
|South Africa||Created: 13 Feb 2012|
The ultimatum from the teachers at Eldorado Park Senior Secondary School in Joburg was clear: either the planned cellphone mast went, or they did. For Lionel Billings, it wasn’t a hard decision to make.
“I thought that I could rather lose the mast but not the teachers,” says Billings, the chairman of the school’s governing body. “My kids also attend the same school.”
The school entered into a contract with Cell C more than two years ago and a mast would provide a guaranteed income. “The thought of radiation was in the back of my mind… but some of the schools in the area do have these towers and I thought it can’t be that bad.”
But when construction started towards the end of last year, everything changed. “The teachers told me if the mast went up, they would leave. They had done their research and were concerned about the dangers of cellphone masts.
“Some of the research was very inconclusive, but the bottom line was that the word radiation was mentioned in every article. That was enough for them to say we don’t need this at our school. I don’t want to put our school’s 1 600 learners and 50 teachers at any risk. We don’t even allow cellphones at the school.”
Tracey-Lee Dorny, the chairwoman of the Electromagnetic Radiation Research Foundation of SA, applauds the school’s move, noting that a village in Spain has just removed a cellphone mast after 50 villagers contracted cancer or suffered from headaches, insomnia and depression.
Too many schools in SA allow the erection of cellphone masts on their grounds, says Dorny, despite “burgeoning” scientific evidence about the potential health effects of electromagnetic fields emitted by cellular base stations.
“There are thousands of papers showing possible links to cancer, and now increasing incidents of attention-deficit disorder, Alzheimer’s and diabetes from cellphone radiation,” she says.
“When I give talks to schools, the first thing I ask is who is sleeping with their cellphones under their pillows. Almost all the hands go up. You find our children hiding their cellphones on their bodies so that they don’t miss an SMS while their poor little breasts are being fried.
“I teach the children how dangerous phones are and not to put them in their bras or panties, sleep with them under their pillows and walk with them in their pockets.”
Like most South Africans, Dorny, an events organiser, was using her cellphone regularly two years ago. But when she and her family, who live in the upmarket suburb of Craigavon, Joburg, started to fall ill, they looked at the iBurst mast just metres from their home.
“I was actually using iBurst,” recalls Dorny. “But I ended up starting to vomit until I brought up blood. I had a rash from head to toe. It felt like my eyes were melting in my head. My husband had bleeding headaches. My son would wake up screaming in the middle of the night holding his head, which he said felt like a rocket had gone off.”
Dorny says the effects were so severe that the family could not live in their home for 18 months. Eventually, iBurst dismantled the mast, which had been illegally erected, but its former chief executive maintained it had been switched off for weeks at a time and denied it could be the cause of similar illnesses affecting scores of residents in the suburb.
Dorny believes she has another battle on her hands. She says MTN’s testing of 4G LTE (long term evolution) is “scorching” trees in her garden and the surrounding area, and is the source of growing reports of illnesses, including tinnitus, headaches, shooting pains, nausea and dizziness, in the suburbs where it is being conducted.
4G is the fourth generation of wireless communication standard for an era of ultra-fast broadband internet access.
“People ask me if we’ve had a fire here,” says Dorny, pointing to a cluster of some of the 60 burnt and blistered pine trees in her garden – she has numbered each one.
She says 4G has higher penetration levels into buildings, and “therefore into our bodies”. “My big concern is that we’ve got so many service providers rolling out waves and levels of radiation… but they are actually clueless about the damage they are causing… The only reason we have 4G is purely to now flog a whole generation of gadgets to the public. What sort of powers and frequencies are being transmitted to do this and what is it doing to people?”
But Dr Walter Meyer, a senior lecturer in the physics department at the University of Pretoria, disagrees. “In principle, electromagnetic radiation can cause heating effects. The best example is the microwave oven, but the kind of effect to scorch a tree would imply a serious health hazard to people.
“You actually start heating people up, cooking them. It’s certainly possible… but the power output of such a transmitter would be much higher than that which is used for cellphone communication. I doubt whether this scorching is due to cellphone radiation. To have those kinds of thermal effects you should in principle feel the heat.”
Ivan Booth, a former Vodacom spokesman, lashed out at Dorny’s “pseudo-science”.
“I’m willing to put a R1 million bounty out there to anyone who can prove that cellular base stations scorch pine trees,” he wrote.
But Dorny says several studies point to the deterioration of trees around masts. “I’m not an alarmist. I wish I could shout louder. What’s happening now with the mass of towers and all the different layers of technology on top of each other is you’re being exposed to electromagnetic radiation 24/7. You’re not having a choice of ‘I don’t want this coming into my home, it’s making me ill’. You can’t switch it off like you can your cellphone.”
SA is guided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the exposure guidelines published by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). SA authorities say that there is no risk to the health of the general public from exposure to the microwave emissions of cellular base stations, for example.
Barrie Trower, a military scientist from the UK, on a visit to King Kgafela II of the Bakgatla tribe in Botswana, notes how there are at least 11 international committees that “vehemently” oppose both the WHO’s and ICNIRP’s safety levels.
“This is mostly due to the former’s safety levels being based… on thermal levels, whereas other international studies recognise responses to electrochemical interactions between microwaves and cellular biochemistry and set safety levels according to lower rates.”
The king had invited Trower to speak because he blamed the death of his father from a brain tumour on a cellphone mast erected near the royal residence.
Last May, the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the WHO reclassified radio frequency electromagnetic fields as a Class 2B carcinogen – possibly carcinogenic to humans – because of links to some types of brain cancer.
“But this has been ignored by the industry,” says Dorny. “They will keep quoting the ICNIRP. But those guidelines have been declared obsolete by several governments, because it’s only based on six minutes of thermal heating on an adult male… not one organisation has yet declared what they feel is a safe level for children… We’re sitting in 2012 with masses of new technology and huge cellphone use.”
Late last year, a Danish study, billed as the largest of its kind, found that there were no increased risks of brain cancer from cellphone use after tracking 350 000 users for 18 years.
SA, says Dorny, should err on the side of caution and follow the example of Sweden, Canada, France and Switzerland, which have adopted safer radiation limits for their citizens and even prevented wireless fidelity (wi-fi) in schools.
She accuses government departments of passing the buck and leaving SA’s cellphone industry “unregulated” and uncontrolled.
The departments of Health, Environmental Affairs and Communications and the Independent Communications Authority of SA failed to respond to the IOS’s queries.
Last year, Olle Johansson, an associate professor at the department of neuroscience at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, and a scientific adviser to Dorny’s foundation, wrote an impassioned plea to the SA government. He said several studies had demonstrated “cellular DNA damage, disruptions and alterations” because of exposure to electromagnetic fields.
The ICNIRP/WHO public safety limits were inadequate and obsolete with respect to prolonged, low-intensity exposures, he said, and the precautionary principle should be in force in the implementation of this new technology, especially when it came to the exposure of children.
Dorny says her exposure to the iBurst mast made her electrosensitive, which means she becomes ill when exposed to electromagnetic radiation. She wears specially made nets to shield her from radiation at home and when she travels. According to her foundation, 3 percent of the world’s citizens are electrosensitive, and the number is surging.
Dorny is not averse to the use of technology but says that a properly planned fibre-optic network, “from backbone to final source”, is safer if broadband is to be expanded.
She even owns a cellphone. “It’s an ancient thing but I only use it for emergencies. It’s never on. I used to use my phone quite avidly. But I don’t feel well when I do use one. If I have to pick up a smartphone, it actually burns my hand.”
She adds: “Anything… that is going to make you sick is of concern. If it’s going to give you rashes, make you vomit, give you blurry vision, memory loss… that either happens till the signal goes down or you take yourself away.” - Saturday Star
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: Independent Online, Sheree Bega, 13 Feb 2012|
|Scorched tree poser for cellphone giant|
|South Africa||Created: 30 Jan 2012|
JOBURG woman believes the imminent roll-out of 4G cellular telephony could have massive health implications for anyone in the path of the signal.
The government disagrees. So does cellphone giant MTN, which is doing 4G/LTE testing in the north of Joburg.
Tracey-lee Dorny has 60 pine trees in her garden. They have all been burnt and blackened – in the last five months. Her neighbours also report blackened trees.
“I first noticed these big scorch marks on my pines, and then some of the eucalyptus and the fir trees around Fourways,” says Dorny, chairman of the Electromagnetic Research Foundation of SA, from her Craigavon home. “It’s like very focused beams are coming through here and hitting some of the trees and plants. The signals are fairly high-powered and they’re transmitting long distances… The resin just bursts open.”
4G is the fourth generation of wireless communication standards, converging computers and cellphones wirelessly in an era of ultra-fast broadband internet access.
Dorny suspects the sudden firestorm in her garden is MTN’S testing of its new technology in her area, which she believes corresponds with reports of illnesses in Fourways, Dainfern, Sunninghill and further afield.
The trees are an indicator of what is to come, she believes. “We’re receiving more reports of headaches, blurry vision, tinnitus and nausea and problems with breathing and hair loss in the area. Children are experiencing severe shooting pains in their muscles and joints.”
Last year she won an epic battle against iburst when it removed a wi-fi mast it had erected
A30m from her bedroom window, which had caused her family to fall ill. She has since been diagnosed as electrosensitive, becoming physically ill when exposed to electromagnetic radiation.
This month Dorny wrote to the Ministers of Communication, Health, Water and Environmental Affairs about her foundation’s concerns. She told them the MTN testing was the cusp of the next technological revolution with digital TV being next.
“The number of service providers in South Africa wanting to roll out the service, if it is allowed, will result in a bigger impact on health and environment and the deployment of even more towers.”
Israel, she said, had forbidden a 4G/LTE roll-out until a proper study was done but in SA the government had not acted on an industry that was self-regulating, unmonitored and out of control. “We want an investigation to find out who is doing what and who is testing… but Icasa have told us that once people are licensed, they have no idea what they roll out, when and where and how.”
This week Amanda Britz of the Department of Environmental Affairs wrote that the Department of Health was “satisfied that, based on the current research and guidelines, which are endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the health of the general public is not being compromised (by) their exposure to the microwave emissions of cellular base stations”.
However, says Dorny, there are areas in Joburg where the levels are high and uncontrolled.
“But the companies will tell you they’re perfectly safe, but nobody is monitoring… Our levels compared with what other countries define as safe levels are two totally different things. It just takes that one extra signal, frequency, or a Wimax, then you find a lot of people start to get ill. They get headaches and rashes, but the minute they switch it off, or remove it from their office, their symptoms go away.”
Last year the WHO revealed that the International Agency for Research on Cancer had declared that the electromagnetic fields produced by cellphones are possibly cancer-causing.
Kanagaratnam Lambotharan, MTN chief technology officer, disputes the claims. “LTE is a standard that is part of the evolution of 3G, which incorporates significantly increased data rates and better performance to enhance the mobile broadband experience.”
MTN, he says, ensures that everything from 2G to 3G and 4G/LTE adheres to all world safety benchmarks. “There’s no evidence to convince experts that exposure below the guidelines set carries any health risks, for adults or children.”
The WHO found no evidence that “the weak RF signals from base stations and wireless networks” cause adverse health effects, he says.
Feb 2011, United Kingdom: Why our urban trees are dying
Jan 2011, South Africa: iBurst takes down controversial Fourways tower
Nov 2010, United Kingdom: Is Wi-Fi killing trees? Dutch study shows leaves dying after exposure
Mar 2010, South Africa: Migraines, maladies and masts
Oct 2009, South Africa: iBurst Wireless Broadband Blamed for 'Nightmare'
Feb 2008, France: Tomato plants are psychosomatic!
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: The Saturday Star, SHEREE BEGA, 28 Jan 2012|
|Johannesburg students find kids vulnerable to cellphone tower radiation|
|South Africa||Created: 3 Jul 2011|
A science project by two boys on the health effects of cellphone masts has won high praise from leading researchers – and may lead to the mast at their school being removed.
Christopher Anthony, 14, and Daniel Chen, 14, both grade 8 pupils at St John’s College in Houghton, Johannesburg, studied the effects of radio frequency (RF) waves on children who spent more than eight hours a day at school.
The idea for their project, entitled “The effects of cellphone tower radiation at schools on the health of school children”, was sparked by curiosity over a tower at their school.
”I was playing rugby one day and I wondered about the tower and its effects on our health,” said Chen, from Sandton.
Under the supervision of engineer Dieter Netter, who provided them with sophisticated equipment to read the RF radiation levels, the boys were able to compile their data for analysis.
These, coupled with the results of a survey, concluded that five most common symptoms of radiation experienced by pupils were sinus, headaches, lack of concentration, difficulty with eye focusing and dizziness.
They have been described by a qualified researcher in this field as “textbook” symptoms.
Tracey-Lee Dorny of the Electromagnetic Radiation Research Foundation of SA, who assisted the pair in their project, said: ”The boys need to be commended on an excellent job. Their work certainly highlights the need for a full investigation into at least one of the schools that participated in the study, where they noted a higher number of affected children.”
The project was done as part of the school’s science curriculum. The report said: ”We needed to better understand if this lengthy exposure time to the microwave radiation from the cellphone towers was harmful to our health.”
The paper stated that “it should be recognised that children are a sensitive population and a very vulnerable group to this radiation”.
The boys identified three schools on the West Rand with cellphone towers on their properties who agreed to be part of the study.
Pupils aged 14 to 16 from Florida Hoërskool, Westridge High and Gustav Preller Primary participated in a questionnaire thatincluded a check-list of 21 symptoms flagged as indicators of radiation-related illnesses.
They included skin rashes, unexplained sharp muscular pains, heart palpitations, extreme fatigue, gastric disturbances, swollen lymph nodes, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), allergic reactions and a metallic taste in the mouth.
The study also found:
79% of pupils suffered from some of these symptoms, while 30% showed more than four symptoms each; and
Close to 5% of pupils suffered from more than 10 symptoms, while 1% suffered from as many as 11 to 14 of those on the list.
In their analysis, the boys cautioned that pupils should keep a distance of at least 300m from the cellphone base station.
They also concluded that while cellphones were necessary, masts ”should be kept away from populated areas and should definitely be kept out of schools”.
Headmaster Roger Cameron said: ”In light of the investigation, the school, the staff and parents are against the mast . We have instituted proceedings to have it removed.”
The mast at St John’s was erected 10 years ago by Vodacom. The service provider’s chief officer of corporate affairs, Portia Maurice, said: “There have been some discussions with the school and it’s unlikely that the site lease will be renewed.”
Told of the school’s decision, Chen and Anthony were “shocked”.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: EdTech, 20 Jun 2011|
|Cellphones 'a threat to unborn babies'|
|South Africa||Created: 8 Feb 2011|
Scientists issue new warnings : Pregnant women should not use cellphones because electromagnetic radiation from them could harm their unborn babies.
This was the warning issued last week by an international panel of scientists studying the health risks associated with the radiation emitted by wireless electronic devices.
Members of the panel included Yuri Grigoriev, of the Russian National Committee on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection, and Olle Johansson, of Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology.
Also among the researchers calling for new "biologically-based public exposure standards" to protect public health were Lloyd Morgan, of California's Bioelectromagnetics Society, and Elihu Richter, of Hebrew University Medical School, Jerusalem.
Johansson said: "Standards for radio frequency and microwave radiation from wireless technologies are entirely inadequate.
"They were never intended to address the kind of exposures from wireless devices that now affect more than 4billion people."
Electromagnetic radiation is emitted by devices such as cellphones, cordless phonesand wi-fi routers.
The scientists produced warnings specifically for cellphone and cordless phone users, including:
* a recommendation that pregnant women stay away from cell and cordless phones, and away from people using them;
* a "strong" recommendation that children of any age must not use cell or cordless phones, or palm-top computers;
* that users should keep cellphones away from the head and body at all times;
* that phones be switched off before being put in a user's pockets;
* that schools use wired internet access instead of wireless connections because wireless connections "create pervasive and prolonged electromagnetic exposures for children";
* avoid using any wireless devices - including baby monitors, wireless internet, wireless security systems, wireless power transmitters and wireless headsets - which might produce potentially harmful radiation.
Tracey-Lee Dorny, chairman of the Electromagnetic Radiation Research Foundation of SA, said a foetus is the most vulnerable to radiation "because it is in water and water attracts radiation more".
However, Vodacom spokesman Richard Boorman said there have been "thousands of scientific studies into the effects of radio frequency on health" but they had provided no convincing proof that exposure - within internationally set guidelines - carried any health risks for adults or children.
Boorman said the World Health Organisation has suggested reducing exposure as a precaution by keeping the device away from the head and body, not putting it on your lap while transferring data files, and sending SMSs instead of making calls.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: Times Live, HARRIET MCLEA, 07 Feb 2011|
|iBurst takes down controversial Fourways tower|
|South Africa||Created: 15 Jan 2011|
Mystery surrounds a decision by iBurst to take down a controversial base station in Craigavon in Fourways, north of Sandton.
The company has been under intense pressure from some residents, who have wanted the tower removed as they claimed — among other things — that radiation from the mast was harming their health.
Craigavon resident Tracey-Lee Dorny, who has led the community’s fight against iBurst, says she is relieved the tower has been removed.
However, she says she can’t comment on the reasons it was taken down because she has signed a nondisclosure agreement with iBurst. She says only that there was an out-of-court settlement.
iBurst also isn’t talking. The company’s chief technical officer, Sasan Parvin, says he is not prepared to comment on the decision to dismantle the tower.
“This should be behind us now,” Parvin tells TechCentral. “To raise it again is to the benefit of no one. This is not good for us, the industry, or anyone.”
Dorny says neither she nor the Craigavon community made any payment to iBurst to have the base station removed. She won’t say whether iBurst admitted any liability in terms of the out-of-court settlement.
Dorny moved out of her Craigavon home last year claiming the tower was damaging her family’s health. “We are happy to be home, just in time for Christmas.”
Dec 2009, South Africa: iBurst tower battle comes to a head
Oct 2009, South Africa: iBurst Wireless Broadband Blamed for 'Nightmare'
Oct 2009, South Africa: Broadband tower sparks outrage in community
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: TechCentral, Duncan McLeod, 20 Dec 2010|
|Kenya: Do Communication Masts Signal Rising Health Dangers?|
|South Africa||Created: 8 Aug 2010|
They have become a common feature of our landscape in the last 10 years, but health concerns continue to be raised over the proliferation of the mobile communication masts.
According to the Information Ministry, growing public hostility due to fears over the possible risks of electromagnetic radiation from masts will drive new guidelines for the industry as it seeks to allay consumer fears.
Dr Bitange Ndemo, the Information PS, said the rapid growth of the telecommunications industry posed environmental and health concerns.
"Masts are now a fixture in our neighbourhoods and the continuing expansion of telecommunications infrastructure is already raising both environmental and health concerns. Firms should find ways to share infrastructure and we shall start ensuring that they do so," he said.
CCK has already signed an agreement with the Radiation Protection Board under the Ministry of Public Health to address the challenge while joint countrywide surveys are being carried out on Base Transmitter Stations and other communication infrastructure.
The ministry says it is responding to an increase in complaints from environmental groups and health workers who say that the radiation emitted from the masts could lead to outbreaks of serious diseases among residents.
The development presents a conundrum for mobile firms, who in June sighed with relief when the results of a study found that proximity to masts or mobile phones does not translate to an increased risk of serious disease.
Findings published by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) said there is no persuasive evidence that normal mobile phone usage or exposure to pylons and power lines causes harmful health effects, such as cancer.
The institute, which is Europe's largest team of engineering and technology professionals, said through its Biological Effects Policy Advisory Group (BEPAG) that the overwhelming majority of the evidence does not indicate that normal exposure to low-level electromagnetic fields has harmful health effects.
Professor Tony Barker, a Fellow of the IET and chairman of BEPAG, said: "There is still a huge amount of interest in whether exposure to mobile phones and electricity pylons has harmful health effects. However, over the years the conclusion of most scientific bodies, including the Institution of Engineering and Technology, has remained substantially the same -- that there is no persuasive evidence of this.
"The absence of robust new evidence of harmful health effects in the past two years is reassuring and is consistent with findings over the last two decades."
The IET Position Statement reviewed 813 scientific papers.
But consumer groups such as Mast Sanity say the research did not fully address concerns, saying that the study did not take into consideration its own evidence which shows a 40 per cent increase in risk of glioma - a type of tumour that starts in the brain or spine - after 10 years exposure of hour an hour a day.
In May, the French government banned the use of mobile phones by children in schools and put warning labels against excessive use on mobile phones.
While analysts doubt that Kenya will take such harsh measures, the state is banking on a new initiative to allay consumer fears about radiation and other quality issues by introducing a official data bank containing information about the mobile services in the market.
This will be freely accessible to consumers after the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) publishes a report on the quality of services offered by operators in Kenya by the end of the year.
The regulator acquired a Quality of Service Monitoring and Measurement Systems (QSMS) in 2007 to independently verify the quality of service from the licensed mobile operators to safeguard the interests of the consumers but has been unable to share its findings with the public, citing gag laws.
But the institution now says it has the necessary legal framework to publish its findings on the performance of each of the four service providers in terms of quality of service following the gazettement of mandatory quality of service parameters that firms have to meet, a step it says will compel the mobile operators and communications companies to improve their service delivery.
Speaking at an International Telecommunications Union (ITU) workshop to discuss the state of Quality of Service in Africa and the effect of the telecommunication infrastructure on the environment, Mr Poghisio said through publishing of its findings, consumers will evaluate various aspects of the call services provided by mobile operators and make informed decisions.
Ms Judith Katona Kiss, the counsellor, ITU-T said since Africa is witnessing one of the fastest growths in the telecoms industry, there is need for operators to address consumer concerns.
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|Source: All Africa, Paul Wafula, 05 Aug 2010|
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