Starting end of this month, the Harare City Council charge residential properties housing mobile phone towers at commercial rates. According to the Daily News, Harare City Council (HCC) spokesperson Michael Chideme said owners of the homes were using their properties as commercial enterprises.
Chideme’s remarks come after the council enacted electronic communication by-law requiring all telecommunication companies including those laying fibre optic cables to pay monthly rentals to the City.
“The telecommunications companies have not been paying anything to council as was agreed upon so the city resolved instead to charge the home owners who are being paid on behalf of HCC. The homes will be charged rates that are equivalent to businesses,” Chideme said.
Mobile phone companies pay landlords whose houses host the towers a fee as recompense for potential harmful exposure to emissions from the base stations.
According to some sections of the by-law, companies installing electronic communication facilities and trenching underground fibre optic cables have to obtain a permit from the council first before conducting their activities.
Section 8 of the proposed new law entails that council’s permit would not exceed period of the electronic telecommunication operator’s license as required by the statutory regulations.
“In terms of section 9, the permit holder would maintain the area where its services were installed and would indemnify council against any claims that may arise out of the location of the electronic communication facilities.
Furthermore, the permit holder would make good any City of Harare’s infrastructure damaged as a result of the installation or location of their electronic communications facilities and would adopt environmentally and health friendly approaches in the development of their electronic communication facilities to avoid emission of harmful substance,” read part of the by-law.