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More than 100 network towers hit in violent protests: Icasa

The studio at Mams Radio community station in Mamelodi after being trashed by looters.
The studio at Mams Radio community station in Mamelodi after being trashed by looters.
Image: Mams Radio

The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) has condemned the looting and burning of buildings in parts of the country.

The authority said it had received reports of vandalism of communications infrastructure, including 113 network towers. The attacks have resulted in the disruption of communication services, closure of some community radio stations and vandalism of network facilities.

“We call on the communities to assist in guarding and protecting this critical infrastructure, and to exercise the highest levels of patriotism in this regard. Any disruption of communication services could prove disastrous and result in increased mortality as emergency calls may be directly affected,” said Icasa chairperson Keabetswe Modimoeng.

He said the organisation had written to the National Joints Operations and Intelligence Services (Natjoints) to prioritise the safeguarding and protection of critical telecommunications infrastructure.

Community radio stations where equipment was reported to have been damaged or looted included Alex FM, Ntokozo FM, Mams FM and Westside FM.

“Such wanton destruction of the broadcasting infrastructure and facilities represents a direct attack on the constitutional right of individuals and communities to access news and information that is accurate, unbiased and up-to-date about the current crisis.

“The authority accordingly condemns such criminal behaviour in the strongest of terms,” said Icasa.