Bakgatla's rejection of cellphone towers close to schools and near homes may have not been off the mark after a landmark court ruling in Italy on Thursday confirmed mobile phones can cause brain tumours.
Respected oncologist and professor of environmental mutagenesis, Angelo Gino Levis, gave evidence for Innocente Marcolini - along with neurosurgeon Dr Giuseppe Grasso. They said electromagnetic radiation emitted by mobile and cordless phones can damage cells, making tumours more likely. Prof Levis told The UK Sun: "The court decision is extremely important.
It finally officially recognises the link. It'll open not a road but a motorway to legal actions by victims. We're considering a class action. Tumours due to radiation may not appear for 15 years, so three to five-year studies don't find them."
Bakgatla in Mochudi have rejected the mounting of cellphone towers, also known as masts, in the middle of their village and in schools for fear of radioactivity waves that could lead to diseases and deaths.Recently the Minister of Transport and Communications, Nonofo Molefhi, addressed a Kgotla meeting in Mochudi pleading with Bakgatla to allow the towers to be erected in the village saying they posed no health threat.
Bakgatla leader, Kgafela II, has always claimed that the powerful emissions from a mast mounted at his father's yard killed his father Linchwe II, who died of brain tumour in 2007. Kgafela also refused to move into the same yard while the mast still stood there, until unknown tribesmen destroyed the Mascom tower in October 2009.
Italian businessman, Marcolini (60) fell ill after
He was diagnosed with a brain tumour after complaining of head and chin pains and his country's Supreme Court stated there was a "causal link" between his heavy phone use and the growth. After the Rome court ruling, Marcolini said: "This is significant for very many people.
I wanted this problem to become public because many people still do not know the risks. I was on the phone, usually the mobile, for at least five or six hours every day at work. I wanted it recognised that there was a link between my illness and the use of mobile and cordless phones. Parents need to know their children are at risk of this illness.
We'll only realise in years to come the damage phones can cause children."Marcolini's tumour was discovered in the trigeminal nerve - close to where the phone touched his head. It is a benign tumour, but it threatened to kill him as it spread to the carotid artery, the major vessel carrying blood to his brain. (Additional Reporting by the UK Sun)