Concerned about fibre

Michael Dyson, Fish Hoek

My wife and I live in Petunia Crescent, Fish Hoek, and we are extremely concerned at the irresponsible way in which installation of the fibre cable ducts are being installed.

The contractors have not yet reached our immediate area, but we see the mayhem that has been created in, for example, Recreation Road, and will do anything necessary to prevent a recurrence when they reach our street.

The local paper reports that the City has stopped the contractor and will insist on proper standards being adopted for future work.

We want the City to tell us how many contractors have been approved to do the work – we have sales leaflets from Frogfoot and from Link Africa.

Will both companies be allowed to install ducts? Are we to expect several companies to install their own duct?

We have no interest in having a fibre service, but, of course, future owners of this house might like the facility.

We have landscaped our section of the roadside verge, as have many people in the area, which is an appreciable visual improvement on the scruffy, untended grass/sand condition in may places elsewhere.

We also have a gravel hardstanding, properly installed on plastic sheeting and a steel mesh to keep moles away, and a tarmac driveway.

Carefully done it is possible to put in a duct round our corner property, but it is equally possible to devastate what we have taken three years to create.

Who will be our point of contact with the contractor and with the City?

Does the City guarantee that full and proper reinstatement will be carried out?

Has the City held a meeting with affected residents?

If not, why not, and will you now arrange this before letting the contractors loose again?

Mayoral committee member for transport Felicity Purchase responds:

I note the concerns raised by the resident. However, he is obliged to permit the trenches for the installation of the fibre as it is on public land. According to the Electronic Communications Act (ECA), the City of Cape Town and the resident, as a private individual, cannot refuse to allow fibre-optic service providers from operating in any of our road reserves.

There are at least 14 very active telecommunication service providers working in Cape Town who are providing fibre communication infrastructure to residents and businesses.

The provision of such infrastructure is regulated by the ECA, which we all have to adhere to.

The ECA makes it clear that service providers who are registered with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) – and there are more than 400- have the right to install telecommunication services in a public road reserve and even on private land.

The ECA also makes it clear that as a municipality we have 30 days to respond to a notice by the service provider that they will install services.

If we do not respond within 30 days, the ECA stipulates that they can merely continue to install their services as per their notice.

In short, we do not have the jurisdiction to decide who may and who may not provide such a service.

We do respond to the notice by the service provider by stipulating conditions, but these conditions must be closely related to our municipal services (water, sewer, stormwater, electricity and road).

We also insist that each service provider be represented by a professional engineering company that will need to supervise the works, handle complaints, and act as middleman between the contractor and the public.

The City issues permits to service providers, and one of the conditions of the permit is that the affected owners must be notified of the work three days in advance.

Once the infrastructure has been installed, the area must be restored to its original state, and a certificate of completion must be signed off by all parties, inclusive of the service provider’s consulting engineer and the City’s local road department.

The service provider is also required to provide the City with a guarantee – usually at least R1 million, depending on the extent of the work that is being undertaken.

The guarantee acts as surety for damage to the City’s infrastructure and to ensure that the area is restored to the City’s satisfaction and standards.

The City advises those who are worried about the quality of the reinstatement to take date-stamped photos of their verges and driveways before the installation of the fibre optic.

These photos can then serve as reference should there be a dispute about the state of the landscaped sections before and after installation.

Also, where possible, we require service providers to install their infrastructure in a common trench.

Lietenant Commander Glenn von Zeil, SA Naval Reserves

Sea Cadets from TS Woltemade represented the South African Sea Cadets Corps at the 2019 Armed Forces Day.

The Sea Cadets performed a precision drill routine they developed to highlight the SA Navy warship’s visit to the V&A Waterfront.

The SA Navy and the Sea Cadets have had a close bond since the inception of Naval Cadets in 1905.

The name changed to Sea Cadets, as it is known internationally, in 1969 when the Navy League incorporated school units.

This close relationship has been maintained during the past 25 years since the advent of democracy, continuing to provide youth with opportunities, professional instructors and skills.

There are 14 training ships (units) located around the country.

As the Sea Cadets provides youth, aged 13 to 17, with maritime and nautical skills, it is the logical place for them to start exploring a maritime career, whether in the SA Navy or merchant nay, fishing fleet, ship building or related industries.

Their activities appeal to school-going boys and girls from Grade 6 to Grade 12 who enjoy having serious fun while learning leadership, self-discipline and maritime orientated skills.

The land-based training ships located around the country provide a safe space with competent instructors at which training can take place.

Training takes place on Friday nights or Saturdays with leadership camps during the school holidays.

The highlight of the year is the annual camp hosted by the SA Navy in Simon’s Town.

A crowd followed the precision drill squad around the harbour from berth to berth, and the younger Sea Cadets ushered the public to the warships and answered any questions as best as they could.

Those Sea Cadets participating in 2019 Armed Forces Day were rewarded with a special tour of a frigate on the Sunday.

Thank you to the SA Navy for always remembering the Sea Cadets and for making opportunities available to them.