5G conspiracy theories are still rife in 2021, with Vodacom and MTN seeing arson attacks against their infrastructure earlier this week
2021 has started on something of a sour note for the South African operators this week – and it is not due to the coronavirus, at least not directly.
Some time between Tuesday and Wednesday, a number of communications towers owned by Vodacom and MTN in South Africa were set alight this week in the KwaZulu-Natal province.
The arson attack comes as conspiracy theories linking new 5G technology to the coronavirus pandemic see something of a resurgence following the rapid rise in cases of infection worldwide.
“It is regrettable that the much-needed network infrastructure is being destroyed, said Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, South Africa’s Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies. "Mobile telephony is crucial in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.”
The operators have both said that the attacks led to minimal disruption to their networks and that their towers were now being repaired. Furthermore, as is often the case in these arson attacks, MTN has pointed out that their damaged towers did not even have 5G technology installed.
Health concerns surrounding 5G radiation have been raised by various groups around the world over the last few years, though these health fears have been quashed time and time again by health bodies like the World Health Organisation and others. The radiation levels 5G will expose the public to are not dissimilar to those of 4G and previous mobile technologies, and are well below dangerous levels, as confirmed by numerous independent studies. Exactly how this radiation is supposedly linked to a pathogenic virus like Covid-19 is unclear.
With the latest wave of the coronavirus taking hold around the world and new variants of the disease being identified, it seems it will still be some time before the bizarre linking of 5G to the pandemic truly dies down.
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