In recent weeks, local carriers and networks suffered destruction of property, prompted by growing conspiracy theories trying to link the increased spread of COVID-19 in South Africa to 5G. If this sounds familiar, it is because a similar fate fell on 5G towers in the United Kingdom, with conspiracy theorists pushing propaganda once again. This has prompted the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) to issue a statement.
To reiterate, there is absolutely no scientific evidence to support the theory that 5G is linked to COVID-19.
“The Authority would like to reiterate its position that the development of standards for International Mobile Telecommunication for 2020 (IMT-2020) and beyond (commercially known as 5G), is continuing at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU); and that the administration, including ICASA, contribute and participates in these processes,” notes the statement shared by ICASA this week.
“Some of the frequencies earmarked and trialled for 5G deployment by industry players were previously assigned to various operators in South Africa – way before the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus in 2020. Such fake theories can only cause despair and unnecessary technophobia among South Africans and must be strongly condemned,” adds ICASA chairperson, Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng.
The organisation further confirmed that the type of approved electronic communications facilities provided in the country adhere to the prescribed standards of the ITU and WHO, and that there is no evidence that they pose any health risks to South Africa’s citizens.
As for the larger role of 5G, which is limited to selected regions in major metropoles during the course of last year, Modimoeng explains that the organisation plans to complete the auction process of licensing spectrum in the next couple of months.
“Our efforts are geared towards licensing the high demand spectrum through an auction by no later than end of March 2021. We have adequately consulted relevant stakeholders and the public throughout this process and cannot do so to a point of regulatory paralysis,” the chairperson outlines.
With access to 5G in South Africa expected to increase significantly in 2021, here’s hoping no further property is damaged as a result of conspiracy theorists failing to follow scientific evidence.