UPDATE 29. December 2021: HUGE WIN ! - Ruling ordering Shell to stop its seismic survey off the Wild Coast welcomed by activists with relief and joy

Members from various environmental organisations and activists joined in protest at SLR Consulting in Newlands. SLR is a company working with Shell that is scheduled to start seismic testing on the Wild Coast for a period of five months. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)UPDATE 28. December 2021: BREAKING | Court orders Shell to halt Wild Coast seismic blasting + ’Viva the ocean, viva’... activists celebrate as Shell’s Wild Coast blasting stopped - Court halts Shell’s seismic survey along the Wild Coast

UPDATE 23. December 2021: Shell battle continues with appeal filed against first Wild Coast interdict judgment

UPDATE 22. December 2021: High Court ruling on Shell offshore prospecting appealed

UPDATE 20. December 2021: 'This is all of our struggle': Shell, Wild Coast residents battle it out in court to stop seismic blasting

ICYMI: LOOK: Thousands protest against Shell’s seismic survey on the Wild Coast + Gwede Mantashe insists that licence for seismic survey in Eastern Cape won’t be withdrawn + Gwede Mantashe slams opposition to Shell’s oil seismic survey plans + Shell protests continue across South Africa + Increased pressure to stop Shell’s seismic survey sees nationwide beach protests + Rural Eastern Cape Communities take on Shell - file second Wild Coast interdict + Shell's seismic blasting vessel met with protest by Cape environmentalists

PROLOGUE: South African Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe must realize now that that the tide has turned and that corporate back-office deals are no longer tolerated, if he wants to stay in office.

Court reserves judgment in bid to halt Shell’s seismic survey along the Wild Coast

Picture: African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Picture: African News Agency (ANA) Archives

By Brenda Masilela - 17. December 2021

PRETORIA – The Grahamstown High Court in Makhanda on Friday reserved judgment until further notice in the Wild Coast Shell interdict.

This is a second application made in the same court to stop oil multinational Shell’s seismic survey along South Africa’s Wild Coast.

Two weeks ago, Judge Avinash Govindjee dismissed the application by activists – including Greenpeace – to stop the survey, on the basis that “irreparable harm” to marine species had not been proved.

The Legal Resources Centre (LRC) and Richard Spoor Attorneys brought the application on behalf of the Amadiba, Dwesa-Cwebe, Port St Johns and Kei Mouth communities. These communities are all recognised small-scale fishing communities, while the Dwesa-Cwebe community has had their customary rights to fishing recognised.

The new application argues that Shell does not have the necessary environmental authorisation in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) to lawfully undertake seismic exploration activities in the area.

Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, SC, counsel for the Wild Coast communities and supporting NGOs, argued that Shell had failed completely to consult with the affected communities, despite the devastating impact that the seismic blasting will have.

Ngcukaitobi slammed Shell’s inadequate consultation under the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) as “farcical and a complete sham based on exclusion”.

He argued that when constitutional rights are at issue, “the balance of convenience favours the applicants. There is no amount of money that can offset the loss of constitutional rights”.

In response to Shell’s argument that the communities should have asked Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe for help, rather than seeking this interdict in urgent relief in court. Ngcukaitobi said Mantashe has been “unequivocal” in his stance against the communities saying, “the regulator is sleeping in the same bed as Shell. Instead of regulating them, he has taken their side”.

Meanwhile, Shell’s counsel Adrian Friedman maintained that there is no evidence of harm to marine life, that communities’ objections are “speculative”, and claims of cultural and spiritual harm merely “subjective”.

Shell held firm that the Environmental Management Programmed (EMP) under the MPRDA constitutes an environmental authorisation under NEMA, arguing that “Shell and Impact Africa stand to lose hundreds of millions of rand, a massive prejudice which should be taken into account. The harm to Shell is nothing short of catastrophic”.

In conclusion, Friedman said that the litigation against Shell was unreasonable, and insisted that the final matter and determination be concluded today to avoid further litigation.

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UPDATES:

Ruling ordering Shell to stop its seismic survey off the Wild Coast welcomed by activists with relief and joy

By Kristin Engel - 29. December 2021

Cape Town - A high court ruling which immediately halted Shell’s seismic survey off the Wild Coast on Tuesday has been greeted with joy by environmental activists, community organisations, fishing communities and citizens.

Extinction Rebellion Cape Town spokesperson Michael Wolf hailed the ruling as a milestone in the fight for ocean protection and for a sustainable and equitable future. File Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)
XR - Extinction Rebellion Cape Town spokesperson Michael Wolf hailed the ruling as a milestone in the fight for ocean protection and for a sustainable and equitable future. File Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

 

The Makhanda High Court’s ruling follows a hearing on December 17 by Judge Gerald Bloem after weeks of protests over the impact of the survey on marine life as Shell sought to explore the ocean floor for oil and gas.

Judge Bloem’s ruling has now halted that exploration with immediate effect.

The application was brought by the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) and Richard Spoor Attorneys on behalf of small-scale fishing and coastal communities in Amadiba, Dwesa-Cwebe, Port St Johns and Kei Mouth after a previous urgent interdict was denied.

Despite the fact these coastal communities lived around and relied on the Wild Coast for their livelihoods, sustenance and traditional practices, they were excluded from consultation processes for the approval to conduct the survey and insufficient environmental impact assessments were conducted to determine the impact of the survey.

At the open court judgment, Judge Bloem said Shell was under duty to meaningfully consult with the communities and individuals who would be impacted by its seismic survey, and that based on the evidence, Shell failed to do so in the case of the applicant communities who held customary rights, including fishing rights.

The judge also found that the exploration right acquired was invalid and the applicants’ right to meaningful consultation constituted a prima facie right which deserved to be protected by way of an interim interdict.

LRC attorney Wilmien Wicomb said: “This case is really a culmination of the struggle of communities along the Wild Coast for the recognition of their customary rights to land and fishing, and to respect for their customary processes.

“The Amadiba and Dwesa-Cwebe communities fought for such recognition in earlier cases, and the Makhanda High Court reminded the state and Shell today, once again, that the indigenous rights of communities are protected by the Constitution from interference, no matter how powerful the intruders are,” said Wicomb.

In the judgment, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Manatshe and BG International was instructed to cover the costs of the application for the interim interdict.

Reacting to the judgment, Amadiba Crisis Committee member Nonhle Mbuthuma said coastal communities had relied on the sea for centuries and they were glad that the judge recognised that their ocean livelihoods should not be sacrificed for short-term profit.

Another member and coastline resident Siyabonga Ndovela said: “Our sea is not for sale, our land is not for sale. The sea is not about money, it’s about lives, all different ways of living, connectedness with the ocean and with the coastline. It’s our time to protect our coastline.”

Project 90 by 2030 and African Climate Alliance spokesperson Gabriel Klaasen said the ruling was a massive win for many organisations, groups, individuals, and communities who over the past few months have been advocating that awareness was built around Shell’s damaging blasting on the Wild Coast.

Extinction Rebellion Cape Town spokesperson Michael Wolf hailed the ruling as a milestone in the fight for ocean protection and for a sustainable and equitable future.

In welcoming the ruling, Green Connection strategic lead Liz McDaid said although the matter would go to court in the new year, the interdict was a significant victory.

In response to the court’s ruling, the department said: “The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy respects the traditional and customary rights of communities and will seek to protect them while simultaneously ensuring that much needed investment, which is urgently required for our economy and energy needs, is fully supported.

“The Department will therefore continue to participate in Part B of these proceedings by filling papers in due course.”

Author:

Kristin Engel can be reached via

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’Viva the ocean, viva’... activists celebrate as Shell’s Wild Coast blasting stopped

By Duncan Guy - 28. December 2021

Durban environmentalist activists have welcomed the Makhanda High Court’s decision to stop Shell from carrying out exploration for oil and natural gas off the Wild Coast.

Members from various environmental organisations and activists joined in protest at SLR Consulting in Newlands. SLR is a company working with Shell that is scheduled to start seismic testing on the Wild Coast for a period of five months. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Members from various environmental organisations and activists joined in protest at SLR Consulting in Newlands. SLR is a company working with Shell that is scheduled to start seismic testing on the Wild Coast for a period of five months. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Judge Gerald Bloem had reserved judgement after a lengthy day of argument before Christmas between legal teams representing coastal communities, the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy and the oil giant.

Bloem granted the applicants Amadiba, Dwesa-Cwebe, Port St Johns and Kei Mouth communities an interdict against Shell. The Minister and Shell were ordered to pay the applicants' cost.

Janet Solomon, director of Oceans not Oil, called the decision “a complete testament to the power of the law in this country and to people power”.

Des d’Sa, co-ordinator of the South Durban Environmental Community Alliance, sent out a quick text message: “Viva fish and the ocean. Viva!”

Shell’s blasting of air guns to tell if the resources were under the seabed, which started on December 2, will now have to stop.

At the December 17 hearing, advocate Thembeka Ngcukayithobi argued that Shell was acting illegally and should not be allowed to continue, that communities he represents were not consulted and that it was not appropriate for Shell to have dealt only with certain kings and a dubious representative.

Ngcukayithobi lashed out at Shell's lawyer for regarding their cultural, religious and spiritual relationship with the ocean as “subjective” and that had the company consulted better, it would have come up with better knowledge about planning mitigating factors to the “blasting”.

Adrian Friedman, on behalf of Shell, said the company was applying mitigating factors beyond what was legally required and that the exploration vessel was far away from where coastal communities enjoyed living beside the ocean.

Ngcukayithobi presented evidence from scientists on how sensitive endangered species, including right whales and loggerhead and leather back turtles, would be negatively affected by the “jet engine” sounds of the air guns.

He said he was astonished that a company of Shell’s size did not have environmental experts at hand to challenge the anti-exploration lobby’s concerns that it considered exaggerated amid denying that irreparable damage would be done.

Friedman claimed that the granting of the interdict would be “catastrophic” for Shell as it stood to lose around a billion rand should exploration be forced to halt.

He also said the coastal communities’ application to the court so soon after the previous application by other entities, and rejected with costs, amounted to an abuse of the legal system.

He questioned why they had not been among the applicants in a previous similar application for a similar interdict, which the same court, presided over by a different judge, rejected.

The Minister of Mineral Resources’ legal counsel submitted that the coastal communities’ case justified only an application for a review rather than an urgent interdict.

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Court halts Shell’s seismic survey along the Wild Coast

By Brenda Masilela - 28. December 2021

PRETORIA - The Grahamstown High Court in Makhanda on Tuesday granted an interdict against Shell’s seismic survey along the Wild Coast

This a second application made in the same court to stop oil multinational Shell’s seismic survey along South Africa’s Wild Coast.

The Grahamstown High Court in Makhanda on Tuesday granted an interdict against Shell’s seismic survey along the Wild Coast. Picture Leon Lestrade. African News Agency/ANA.

The Grahamstown High Court in Makhanda on Tuesday granted an interdict against Shell’s seismic survey along the Wild Coast. Picture Leon Lestrade. African News Agency/ANA.

Three weeks ago, Judge Avinash Govindjee dismissed the application by activists – including Greenpeace – to stop the survey on the basis that “irreparable harm” to marine species had not been proved.

On Tuesday, Judge Gerald Bloem granted the applicants Amadiba, Dwesa-Cwebe, Port St Johns and Kei Mouth communities an interdict against Shell. These communities are all recognised small-scale fishing communities, while the Dwesa-Cwebe community has had their customary rights to fishing recognised.

“In the circumstances, the Minister and Shell should be ordered to pay the applicants' cost of the application, such costs to include the costs attendant upon the employment of the counsels, where so employed,” Bloem said in the judgement.

In their application, the applicants argued that Shell does not have the necessary environmental authorisation in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) to lawfully undertake seismic exploration activities in the area.

Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, SC, counsel for the Wild Coast communities and supporting NGOs, argued that Shell had failed completely to consult with the affected communities, despite the devastating impact that the seismic blasting will have.

Ngcukaitobi slammed Shell’s inadequate consultation under the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) as “farcical and a complete sham based on exclusion”.

He argued that when constitutional rights are at issue, “the balance of convenience favours the applicants. There is no amount of money that can offset the loss of constitutional rights”.

In response to Shell’s argument that the communities should have asked Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe for help, rather than seeking this interdict in urgent relief in court, Ngcukaitobi said Mantashe had been “unequivocal” in his stance against the communities saying, “the regulator is sleeping in the same bed as Shell. Instead of regulating them, he has taken their side”.

Meanwhile, Shell’s counsel Adrian Friedman maintained that there is no evidence of harm to marine life, that communities’ objections are “speculative”, and claims of cultural and spiritual harm merely “subjective”.

Shell held firm that the Environmental Management Programmed (EMP) under the MPRDA constitutes an environmental authorisation under NEMA, arguing that “Shell and Impact Africa stand to lose hundreds of millions of rand, a massive prejudice which should be taken into account. The harm to Shell is nothing short of catastrophic”.

In conclusion, Friedman said that the litigation against Shell was unreasonable.

Author:

Brenda Masilela

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BREAKING | Court orders Shell to halt Wild Coast seismic blasting

By Adrienne Carlisle - 28. December 2021

Shell has been order to stop its seismic survey by the high court in Makhanda.

Shell has been order to stop its seismic survey by the high court in Makhanda.  Image: REUTERS/ROGAN WARD

Shell will have to call a halt to its seismic survey along the ecologically sensitive Wild Coast after the high court in Makhanda today interdicted it from proceeding.

Judge Gerald Bloem on Tuesday morning interdicted Shell from continuing with the survey which kicked off on December 2.

BIG OIL VS BIG HEARTS: the battle for South Africa's Wild Coast

Richard Spoor Attorneys and the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) acting on behalf of the Dwesa-Cwebe, Amadiba, and Port Saint Johns communities, as well as environmental organisations argued last week that the seismic surveying was devastating to the marine environment as well as harmful to communities’ rights and reliance on the sea for sustenance, income and cultural practices.

Shell warned during legal arguments that if the interim interdict was granted it might have to walk away from the entire operation, including the possibility of extracting any oil and gas which might have been found during the controversial seismic survey. It said its losses would amount to some R1 billion.

Shell and Mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe were ordered to pay the legal costs of the application.

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Shell battle continues with appeal filed against first Wild Coast interdict judgment

By Kristin Engel - 23. December 2021

Cape Town - After their initial court bid to halt seismic blasting along the Wild Coast was dismissed, the organisations behind the interdict application have filed an application for leave to appeal the judgment.

Hundreds of protesters and performing artists gathered at Surfers Corner in Muizenberg to protest against seismic exploration by Shell. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Hundreds of protesters and performing artists gathered at Surfers Corner in Muizenberg to protest against seismic exploration by Shell. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Dismissing the application by Border Deep Sea Angling Association, the Kei Mouth Ski Boat Club, Natural Justice and Greenpeace Africa on December 3 and ordering the applicants to pay the legal costs of Shell and Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, Acting Judge Avinash Govindjee would now have to decide if the applicants will be given leave to appeal.

Natural Justice head of campaigns Katherine Robinson said they were appealing because this was an issue of substantial public importance and they believed there were reasonable prospects of an appeal court finding.

The reasonable prospects were that Shell did not undertake the consultations which its own environmental management programme obliged it to take, that the risks of harm to marine life were real and not speculative, and that there was reasonable apprehension that the blasting would do irreparable harm if the interim interdict was not granted.

Just on Wednesday, Climate Justice Coalition secretary and 350 Africa campaigner Alex Lenferna alerted the public to a dead dolphin washed up at Chintsa, along the Wild Coast, where the blasting was currently occurring.

Lenferna said it was difficult to know whether it was caused by Shell’s blasting, but it was what one might expect.

The organisations argued that the Eastern Cape High Court should have issued a rule nisi directing the parties to return to court for a more in-depth hearing, should have granted an interim interim interdict to stop Shell starting the seismic survey before that hearing, and should not have made a punitive costs order when they were acting in the public interest.

Robinson said the date for the appeal application hearing was not set yet but it was likely to be early next year, while Shell indicated they would oppose the application for leave to appeal.

Border Deep Sea Angling Association vice-chairperson John Luef said: “It’s ludicrous that this is even being considered as an option by our government to look for gas and oil reserves in an evolving ‘greener’ world in any of our coastal waters, let alone the extremely biodiverse and sensitive Wild Coast.”

Luef said they would not take this lying down and would do all in their power to put a stop to it.

Author:

Kristin Engel can be reached via

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High Court ruling on Shell offshore prospecting appealed

By Dineo Faku - 22. December 2021 

COMMUNITY, environmental and human rights groups have filed leave to appeal the High Court’s ruling that had found there was no reasonable apprehension that Shell’s seismic blasting in the Wild Coast would cause irreparable harm.

COMMUNITY, environmental and human rights groups have filed leave to appeal the High Court’s ruling that had found there was no reasonable apprehension that Shell’s seismic blasting in the Wild Coast would cause irreparable harm. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

COMMUNITY, environmental and human rights groups have filed leave to appeal the High Court’s ruling that had found there was no reasonable apprehension that Shell’s seismic blasting in the Wild Coast would cause irreparable harm. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

The Border Deep Sea Angling Association, the Kei Mouth Ski Boat Club, Natural Justice and Greenpeace Africa, who lost their application for an urgent interdict to stop Shell’s seismic blasting earlier in December, are appealing because this is an issue of substantial public importance.

“They believe there are reasonable prospects of an appeal court finding: that Shell did not undertake the consultations which its own environmental management programme (EMPr) obliged it to take, that the risks of harm to marine life are real and not speculative, and that there was a reasonable apprehension that the blasting would do irreparable harm if the interim interdict was not granted,” said the groups said yesterday.

Judge Avinash Govindjee of the High Court in Makhanda earlier this month dismissed an urgent interim interdict lodged by the Border Deep Sea Angling Association, the Kei Mouth Ski Boat Club, Natural Justice and Greenpeace Africa, to prevent Shell’s seismic blasting off the Wild Coast.

He ordered the applicants to pay the legal costs of Shell and the Minister of Minerals and Energy Gwede Mantashe. Mantashe this month said he considered objections to the survey “as apartheid and colonialism of a special type”, masquerading as an interest for environmental protection.

The groups are arguing that the court should have issued a rule nisi directing the parties to return to court for a more in-depth hearing.

“They also contend the court should have granted an interim interim interdict to stop Shell starting the seismic survey before that hearing, and should not have made a punitive costs order when they were acting in the public interest,” said the groups.

The applicants had applied to the High Court to stop the blasting until they could return to court with more expert evidence of the harm that would be caused, and to argue that Shell did not have the necessary environmental authorisation under the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA).

The application will be made to Judge Govindjee, who will have to decide if the applicants are given leave to appeal.

“If the judge grants the applicants leave to appeal, it will most likely be to a ’full bench of the Eastern Cape High Court. The date for the initial appeal application hearing has not been set but is likely to be in early 2022,” said the environmental rights groups.

The appeal comes days after the High Court in Makhanda considered a second interim interdict to stop Shell from proceeding with its seismic survey in the Wild Coast.

Judge Gerald Bloem reserved judgement on Friday in the second interdict to stop Shell’s seismic blasting. The Legal Resources Centre (LRC) and Richard Spoor Attorneys brought the urgent interdict on behalf of the Amadiba, Dwesa-Cwebe, Port Saint Johns and Kei Mouth communities.

The LRC argued that numerous leading experts confirmed that the blasting would cause significant and irreparable harm to marine life in the affected area and will impact the livelihoods, constitutional rights and customary rights including customary fishing rights of coastal communities.

Author:

Dineo Faku

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'This is all of our struggle': Shell, Wild Coast residents battle it out in court to stop seismic blasting

By Kristin Engel - 20. December 2021

Cape Town - On the back of the protest action across the country against Shell’s seismic blasting along the Wild Coast, a second urgent interdict to stop the blasting was heard at the Grahamstown High Court on Friday by Judge Gerald Bloem.

The case lasted seven hours.

Protesters gathered at Shell Petrol Station on Paradise Road (M3) to protest the planned 3D seismic survey along the West Coast. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Protesters gathered at Shell Petrol Station on Paradise Road (M3) to protest the planned 3D seismic survey along the West Coast. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

The application was brought by the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) and Richard Spoor Attorneys on behalf of small-scale fishing and coastal communities in Amadiba, Dwesa-Cwebe, Port St Johns and Kei Mouth after the previous urgent interdict was denied.

While the seismic blasting began earlier this month, vested groups and organisations hoped they would get a positive outcome on Friday after the judge said he would be reserving his judgment until further notice – despite Shell advocate Adrian Friedman’s insistence that the final matter and determination be concluded immediately to avoid further litigation.

Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi SC said numerous leading experts confirmed the blasting would cause significant and irreparable harm to marine life in the affected area and would affect the livelihoods, constitutional rights and customary rights (including customary fishing rights) of coastal communities.

Ngcukaitobi argued that Shell had not adequately consulted with affected communities when it obtained its Exploration Right eight years ago, or obtained environmental authorisation under the National Environmental Management Act (Nema) for the seismic blasting.

“These omissions render Shell’s seismic blasting unlawful and invalid,” said Ngcukaitobi.

Friedman, together with Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe’s advocate, Olav Ronaasen, argued the Environmental Management Programme report (EMPr) they obtained was an efficient environmental authorisation issued under Nema, and maintained that there was no evidence of harm to marine life.

Friedman said the communities’ objections regarding the impact of the seismic survey on marine life were “speculative” and that the claims of cultural and spiritual harm were merely “subjective”.

Small-scale women fishers from f Dwesa-Cwebe rely on the ocean for their livelihoods.

Natural Justice programme manager and attorney Melissa Groenink said it was remarkable Shell could come to court and simply dismiss the evidence of experts about the harm to marine life, ecology and community livelihoods.

Amid the heated proceedings, Mantashe was roasted for his statement suggesting the communities opposing Shell’s seismic survey had a “colonial and racist agenda”.

In response, the Wild Coast fishing communities of Dwesa-Cwebe, Port St Johns and Amadiba wrote a scathing open letter to Mantashe and Environment Minister Barbara Creecy for the apparent ignorance shown by Mantashe regarding how many traditional, subsistence and small-scale fishers depend on the sea for their livelihoods.

Port St John leader Ntsindiso Nongcavu said: “Minister Mantashe insults us when he implies that the fight to protect our oceans, our source of livelihood, from corporations like Shell is only the struggle of white environmentalists.

“This is all of our struggle.”

Small-scale fishers from Dwesa-Cwebe rely on the ocean for their livelihoods.

Author:

Kristin Engel can be reached via

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Gwede Mantashe insists that licence for seismic survey in Eastern Cape won’t be withdrawn

By Mayibongwe Maqhina - 15. December 2021

Cape Town - MINERAL Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe says the government will not withdraw the licence given to Shell to conduct a seismic survey for oil or gas deposits on the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape.

People brandis placards in front of a Shell garage in Cape Town on Saturday in protest against the company’s intentions to conduct a seismic survey off the Wild Coast. Picture Leon Lestrade. African News Agency/ANA.

People brandis placards in front of a Shell garage in Cape Town on Saturday in protest against the company’s intentions to conduct a seismic survey off the Wild Coast. Picture Leon Lestrade. African News Agency/ANA.

Addressing the ANC Amathole regional conference as the party’s national chairperson, Mantashe started his talk about the unrest that broke out in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in July, saying “it was a rehearsal for insurrection”.

“As the ANC, including yourselves, we have not tampered with the apartheid architecture of the economy.”

He noted that the Eastern Cape was the last in development and that it remained underdeveloped.

Mantashe said Shell received a licence to check if the Wild Coast did not have oil or gas deposits but “environmentalists mobilise you to say you don’t want all of that”.

“I am saying if Eastern Cape remains that way, this notion that we must not develop is our second Nongqawuse,” he said.

Nongqawuse was a prophetess who claimed in the 1850s that spirits informed her that the Xhosa people should destroy their crops and kill their cattle and in return European settlers would be swept into the sea and the Xhosa people would prosper.

Despite the slaughtering of the cattle and destruction of the harvest, her prophecy never materialised.

“All of us including myself are victims of a prophecy that said we must kill cattle and we will be wealthy,” Mantashe said.

Mantashe added that the opposition to the seismic survey was saying “Eastern Cape must not be developed”, yet there was no answer to the high unemployment rate.

“This province must be developed. We are not to withdraw the licence for Shell to check if there is oil. In Coega, we are to develop what we call as LNG (liquefied natural gas), liquid to gas complex … to make this province a gas complex of South Africa,” he said.

“If you don’t follow that, you shall remain the last number. Development will go everywhere. One thing I know about development, you never take it where it is not wanted,” Mantashe said.

The granting of the licence by the Mineral Resources Department has received opposition, with at least one court bid unsuccessful and another on the cards.

The ANC national chairperson said the unemployment rate was high and there was a need to do practical things to create jobs.

He also said when Shell finds oil on the Wild Coast, it was the duty of the Eastern Cape to say it was happy with the find and that it wanted to participate as the province.

"If you can't do it, it happens in other areas,” Mantashe said.

Author:

Mayibongwe Maqhina can be reached via 

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Shell seismic survey: What authorities say, what Shell says and what the public says

By Yasmine Jacobs - 12. December 2021

Cape Town – Dutch energy giant Shell will soon be embarking on geographic seismic surveying off the coast of the Eastern Cape and parts of the Western Cape.

Around a hundred protesters stand on the harbour wall holding posters and chanting in protest. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)
Around a hundred protesters stand on the harbour wall holding posters and chanting in protest. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

It is expected to take up to five months.

The surveying has caused an uproar, with many calling for the end to the plans. This is what different parties say on the matter.

Government

Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe has thrown his weight behind the Shell seismic oil surveys, saying that South Africa “deserves the opportunity to capitalise on its natural resources”.

“We consider the objections to these developments as apartheid and colonialism of a special type, masqueraded as a great interest for environmental protection,” Mantashe said at a press briefing.

 

Mantashe said that the country’s economic development is oppressed in the name of environmental protection and he appealed to objectors to acknowledge this and allow the exploitation of its natural resources “for the benefit of its citizens”.

High court

Earlier this month, the Makhanda High Court dismissed an interdict to stop Shell from proceeding with a seismic survey off the Eastern Cape coast. The ruling was delivered by Judge Avinash Govindjee.

The court concluded that the applicants had failed to convince the judge that there was a reasonable concern of “irreparable harm” if the interdict weren’t granted. The court added that given the financial and other prejudice to Shell if the seismic surveys were delayed, the “balance of convenience” was in Shell’s favour.

Shell

In an open letter, Shell gave assurance that the offshore seismic surveys are “safe”.

“They are a safe mapping technique for gathering information about whether oil or gas may be present deep below the seabed of a given area using sound waves that are directed downwards. The sound produced during seismic surveys is comparable to many naturally occurring and other man-made ocean sounds, including wind and wave action, rainstorms, marine life and shipping,” said Shell, adding that approximately 35 have taken place in recent years with no reported significant negative impact to marine life.

Objections

However, not everyone agrees to the plans. There have been various petitions and marches objecting to the seismic oil surveys.

Greenpeace has been vocal about the plans and started a petition against them.

Four environmental and human rights organisations filed an urgent interim interdict against Shell to prevent the petroleum giant from commencing a seismic survey along the Wild Coast. Picture: Supplied

Four environmental and human rights organisations filed an urgent interim interdict against Shell to prevent the petroleum giant from commencing a seismic survey along the Wild Coast. Picture: Supplied

“Shell’s oil and gas exploration involves using airguns to create seismic waves deep into the ocean. These blasts are incredibly harmful to marine life and could even lead to their death. We cannot allow climate criminals, like Shell, to plunder in the name of greed. We cannot allow them to lock us into a fossil-fuelled future, when South Africa needs a just transition to renewable energy to create greener jobs, reduce emissions, and solve our energy crisis,” Greenpeace Africa said in the petition.

Members of the public have also staged protests against the plans.

“We have to show support for those fighting the good fight on behalf of the oceans, to put a stop to seismic surveys and all future fossil fuel extensions from the ocean and desert,” said protester Julie Anderson.

Anderson said activists call on all big oil companies to create a sustainable solution that won’t harm the environment.

Author;

Yasmine Jacobs

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Gwede Mantashe slams opposition to Shell’s oil seismic survey plans

By Tarryn-Leigh Solomons - 09. December 2021

Cape Town - Energy and mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe has thrown his weight behind the Shell seismic oil surveys planned for the Wild Coast, despite the outrage sparked by concerned citizens.

Energy and mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe. Picture: Matthews Baloyi/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Energy and mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe. Picture: Matthews Baloyi/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

People have been protesting along Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape shores echoing their stance against the seismic activity.

The protest follows a court ruling by the Makhanda High Court recently giving Shell the go-ahead to proceed with its seismic activity off the Wild Coast.

The writing’s on the beach at Blue Lagoon where protesters used water hyacinth to send out their message about Shell. Picture: Duncan Guy

Prior to the court ruling, four organisations – Greenpeace Africa, Natural Justice, the Border Deep Sea Angling Association, and the Kei Mouth Ski Boat Club – filed an urgent interdict to halt the survey.

The court ruled that the applicants had failed to convince it that there was a reasonable apprehension of “irreparable harm” if the interdict was not granted and that given the financial and other prejudice to Shell if the seismic surveys were delayed, the “balance of convenience” was in Shell’s favour.

Author:

Tarryn-Leigh Solomons

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LOOK: Thousands protest against Shell’s seismic survey on the Wild Coast

By Yogashen Pillay - 06. December 2021

DURBAN - THOUSANDS of people protested along KwaZulu-Natal’s beaches and in the Eastern and Western Cape provinces yesterday against Shell’s seismic survey planned for the Wild Coast.

Dozens gathered at the Durban beachfront yesterday to protest against Shell’s seismic survey along the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape. Protests were held across KZN and in the Eastern and Western Cape provinces. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)
Dozens gathered at the Durban beachfront yesterday to protest against Shell’s seismic survey along the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape. Protests were held across KZN and in the Eastern and Western Cape provinces. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

The protest follows a court ruling by the Makhanda High Court on Friday giving Shell the go-ahead to proceed with its seismic activity off the Wild Coast.

The ruling followed an application for an urgent interdict to halt the survey, which was brought by four organisations – Greenpeace Africa, Natural Justice, the Border Deep Sea Angling Association, and the Kei Mouth Ski Boat Club.

The court ruled that the applicants had failed to convince it that there was a reasonable apprehension of “irreparable harm” if the interdict was not granted and that given the financial and other prejudice to Shell if the seismic surveys were delayed, the “balance of convenience” was in Shell’s favour.

Prathna Singh, director of Ban Animal Trading Africa and one of the organisers of the protest, said that thousands of concerned people had protested yesterday at the same time in at least 70 different locations across South Africa.

“This protest was a mobilisation of people to say to Shell, ’we want you to stop this seismic activity’. The public has a say to protect our marine life.”

Singh said that scientists were concerned that the seismic activity would not only cause damage to the environment but the sound of the blasts would disrupt the communication of whales, dolphins and other sea animals.

“Dolphins and whales use echolocation for hunting and communication and the seismic survey will cause disruption among their communication. The loggerhead turtle migration to warmer waters, which takes place between October and February, will also be affected by the seismic activity.”

Singh also said that the impact of the blasts could cause smaller fish to explode and with communication disrupted, the reproduction of whales and dolphins could be affected.

Singh added that seismic activity, which involves air guns from a vessel being blasted into the seabed at 10-second intervals to explore for oil and gas underground, could lead to seismic drilling.

“Seismic activity leading to seismic drilling for oil and gas is concerning as this could lead to oil leaks, pollution of the oceans and the destruction of our sea life.”

Steve Smith of the Monkey Helpline Justice for Animals, said that there hadn’t been a proper environmental assessment to establish the safety of Shell’s seismic activity.

“There are other options such as alternative energy and renewable energy instead of relying on seismic activity to find oil and gas underground,” he said.

Heather Martin, of Waterfall, said that she was a free diver and loved the ocean.

“We are here today (yesterday) to show our solidarity against the drilling and seismic activity that Shell is going to be doing. It hasn’t been passed through the correct stakeholders and there hasn’t been enough explanation and enough information put out there to do an environmental impact study to show the effect this is going to have on our marine life and our oceans.”

Meanwhile, Independent Media reported on Friday that other organisations, Sustaining the Wild Coast (SWC) and several Wild Coast communities, including fisherfolk, traditional leaders and healers, have filed papers seeking to interdict Shell’s seismic survey.

SWC, together with the Dwesa-Cwebe Communal Property Association, fishermen – Ntsindiso Nongcavu (Port St Johns), Sazise Maxwell Pekayo and Cameron Thorpe (Kei Mouth) – Amadiba traditional leader and healer Mashona Wetu Dlamini and All Rise Attorneys for Climate and Environmental Justice have applied for an urgent interdict against Shell’s seismic survey off the Wild Coast.

This application – separate from the urgent application that was dismissed – will be heard on December 14.

Dozens gathered at the Durban beachfront yesterday to protest against Shell’s seismic survey along the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape. Protests were held across KZN and in the Eastern and Western Cape provinces. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)
Dozens gathered at the Durban beachfront yesterday to protest against Shell’s seismic survey along the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape. Protests were held across KZN and in the Eastern and Western Cape provinces. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)
Dozens gathered at the Durban beachfront yesterday to protest against Shell’s seismic survey along the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape. Protests were held across KZN and in the Eastern and Western Cape provinces. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

Author:

Yogashen Pillay

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Shell protests continue across South Africa

By Nicola Daniels - 06. December 2021

CAPE TOWN - While environmentalists lost their urgent application in the Makhanda High Court to stop Shell from starting its seismic survey on Friday, activists are still expressing their opposition to the operation, with protests held in various coastal areas.

A giant Snoek marionette operated by puppeteers flouted through hundreds of protesters who gathered at Surfers Corner in Muizenberg to protest against seismic exploration by Shell. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency
A giant Snoek marionette operated by puppeteers flouted through hundreds of protesters who gathered at Surfers Corner in Muizenberg to protest against seismic exploration by Shell. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency

Protesters gathered at Central Beach in Plettenberg Bay and at Surfers Corner in Muizenberg on Sunday.

The seismic survey is scheduled to last for about four months, targeting a specific area within the Exploration License Area on the Wild Coast where it is believed there may be potential oil or gas deposits beneath the ground surface.

Protester Julie Anderson said: “We have to show support for those fighting the good fight on behalf of the oceans, to put a stop to seismic surveys and all future fossil fuel extensions from the ocean and desert.

“We call on all big oil companies to create a sustainable solution that won’t harm our environment. Clean up the plastics in our oceans and find a way to turn that into energy, we cannot afford another oil rig to be extracting oil and gas. Find another way to create energy.”

Four environmental and human rights organisations had filed an urgent interim interdict against Shell to prevent the petroleum giant from commencing, citing harmful impact on marine life and in turn local communities.

However Acting Judge Justice Govindjee concluded on Friday that the applicants had failed to convince him that there was a reasonable apprehension of “irreparable harm” if the interdict was not granted and that given financial and other prejudice to Shell if the seismic surveys were delayed, the “balance of convenience” was in Shell’s favour.

Members of various environmental organisations and activists joined in protest at SLR Consulting in Newlands. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Members of various environmental organisations and activists joined in protest at SLR Consulting in Newlands. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

He dismissed the application with costs, including the costs of two counsel.

Reacting to the decision, Greenpeace Africa said it was dismayed that the court dismissed the application without granting the request to be allowed to return to court to make further representations and present expert evidence.

“The application was made in the public interest to protect the ocean and coastal environment. The applicants had anticipated being able to present further expert evidence of irreparable harm on the return date.

The application had to be made on a hyper-urgent basis (as a consequence of Shell’s actions and the inactions of the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy) which meant that it had not been possible for experts to finalise detailed reports and affidavits by the time the application was launched,” Greenpeace Africa said.

Meanwhile, Shell welcomed the court’s decision, saying it will help move this seismic survey forward in accordance with its regulatory approval and permitting.

“Shell has long experience in collecting offshore seismic data and has taken great care to prevent or minimize potential impacts on fish, marine mammals and other wildlife.

“We have conducted an environmental study in line with regulatory requirements and obtained legal permits to carry out the activity,” Shell South Africa said.

“Shell is aware of the protests currently taking place and we acknowledge all the different views.

“At Shell we respect the right of everyone to express their point of view.

We only ask that they do so with their safety and the safety of others in mind.”

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Increased pressure to stop Shell’s seismic survey sees nationwide beach protests

By Shakirah Thebus - 06. December 2021

Cape Town - Beaches across South Africa were turned into protest sites as civil society, environmental groups, and concerned residents gathered to raise of awareness, and demand that Shell halt its 3D seismic survey off the Wild Coast in search of hydrocarbon reserves beneath the seabed.

Hundreds of protesters and performing artists gathered at Surfers Corner in Muizenberg to protest against seismic exploration by Shell. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)
Hundreds of protesters and performing artists gathered at Surfers Corner in Muizenberg to protest against seismic exploration by Shell. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Over 200 people gathered at Surfers Corner, Muizenberg Beach, on Sunday, with similar beach protests in Hout Bay, Blouberg and V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

Greenpeace Cape Town volunteers group representative Elaine Mills said over 70 protests were carried out, mainly along coastline areas with around 30 organisations involved in the campaign.

Some of these included Oceans Not Oil, The Green Connection, Greenpeace Africa, 350.org, Extinction Rebellion, ECOTERRA Africa, Clean Seas and Sea

The Bigger Picture

An urgent interdict brought forward by Greenpeace Africa was rejected due to a lack of evidence over the damages that could occur due to the seismic survey. A second application is being sought to halt Shell’s actions and will be heard around mid-December.

“One of the biggest grounds for opposing Shell’s actions is that the public consultation was inadequate, they did not consult the fishing and coastal communities who stand to suffer huge economic losses as a result of Shell destroying the marine heritage,” Mills said.

“The damage is beyond belief. Really, it's unimaginable. The harm that that can do to marine life is permanent hearing loss, organ rupture as dolphins and whales breach too fast to escape the auditory onslaught, and beach strandings,” Mills said.

Colourful posters and protest art pieces and performances made its way through the crowd, painting a sordid picture of the devastation that could occur.

A giant Snoek marionette operated by puppeteers flouted through the crowd. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)
Hundreds of protesters and performing artists gathered at Surfers Corner in Muizenberg to protest against seismic exploration by Shell. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)
Hundreds of protesters and performing artists gathered at Surfers Corner in Muizenberg to protest against seismic exploration by Shell. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)
A giant Snoek marionette operated by puppeteers flouted through the crowd. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Protester Rochelle McWilliams said funders such as banks should be called out for their involvement in such projects.

University of Cape Town Environmental Health student Aleya Banwari said: “Yes, it will create jobs in the short term. Once Shell leaves, we’re going to be left with the damage to the environment and high rates of unemployment again and we’re going to be in a worse position.”

Banwari said there is also a risk of oil spillages resulting in ocean pollution, subsequently affecting tourism.

“There’s so many renewable alternatives we could be using, it’s just laziness and greed,” Banwari said.

Protesters gathered at Central Beach in Plettenberg Bay to protest against seismic exploration by Shell. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
Seismic Survey Blasting has been proposed to happen soon off Plettenberg Bay’s coastline. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
Protesters gathered at Central Beach in Plettenberg Bay to protest against seismic exploration by Shell. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
Members from all communities in Bitou came out in solidarity with marine life that may be irreparably harmed due to the oil giant’s actions along the coastline. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)

Seismic Survey Blasting has been proposed to happen soon off Plettenberg Bay’s coastline. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)

Author

Shakirah Thebus can be reached via 

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Rural Eastern Cape Communities take on Shell - file second Wild Coast interdict

02. December 2021

Two protesters held placards at the Paradise Motors Shell service station on the M3. They were opposing Shell's seismic surveys along the Wild Coast. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)
Two protesters held placards at the Paradise Motors Shell service station on the M3. They were opposing Shell's seismic surveys along the Wild Coast. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

‘Our ancestors will curse us’ - communities seek a separate interdict against Shell's exploration on the Wild Coast

Sustaining the Wild Coast (SWC) and several Wild Coast communities including fisherman, traditional leaders and healers , have filed papers seeking to interdict Shell’s seismic survey on the Wild Coast.

SWC, together with the Dwesa-Cwebe Communal Property Association, fishermen – Ntsindiso Nongcavu (Port St Johns), Sazise Maxwell Pekayo and Cameron Thorpe (Kei Mouth) – Amadiba traditional leader and healer Mashona Wetu Dlamini and All Rise Attorneys for Climate and Environmental Justice have applied for an urgent interdict against Shell’s seismic survey off the Wild Coast.

This application is separate from the urgent application brought by Cullinan and Associates for the Border Deep Sea Angling Association, Kei Mouth Ski Club, Natural Justice, and Greenpeace that was heard on Wednesday. Judgment on that interdict is expected tomorrow.

​Read the latest Simply Green digital magazine below

Sinegugu Zukulu, speaking on behalf of SWC, said: "Our application for an urgent interdict is based on the simple fact that Shell does not have an environmental authorisation in terms of the National Environmental Management Act for this survey.

“We know that this survey was approved in 2014 but it is now 2021 and we need to ensure that any illegal offshore exploration is not allowed by our government through negligence or misinterpretation of changes in law since 2014. We are calling for an immediate halt to the survey and that no seismic surveying be allowed without a proper Environmental Authorisation (EA).”

Speaking to Simply Green, he said that all the rights granted to Shell were done without consultation with the very communities that live in the area.

“An EA will ensure that the views of the people of South Africa, particularly those of rural Eastern Cape Coastal communities, are taken into account in a decision about offshore oil and gas exploration and extraction.

“These are the people who will be most affected by any negative impacts of exploration and extraction. An EA will also ascertain the wisdom of doing a seismic survey in the unique and famously biodiverse marine ecosystems of the Wild Coast in the light of new research that has been done in the years since 2014.

“We cannot allow this exploration to be approved and proceed on the basis of outdated and inadequate research.

“Our descendants will curse us for that stupidity and the desecration of the beautiful Wild Coast which sustains us and attracts and inspires nature lovers from across the globe.

“Indigenous people, living on communally owned land occupy 20% of the earth's land but protect 80% of the earth's remaining biodiversity.

“Domestic and international law is increasingly recognising the rights of these indigenous communities but Shell’s process with regards to this survey, enabled by Minister Gwede Mantashe of Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, has not recognized these rights. Together, Shell and Gwede are behaving like the colonial and apartheid powers that came before them by not listening to the indigenous communities of the Wild Coast who have lived in harmony with the ocean for centuries and rely on it for their physical and spiritual well being.

“The impacts of climate change are being felt all across South Africa and the world and the extraction of fossil fuel off our coast will contribute to more catastrophic climate change that will affect the whole human family.

“As indigenous people we feel the need and the responsibility to protect the ocean for the well being of all of us. Ulwandle Yimpilo – The Ocean is Life. That is why we are seeking this urgent interdict.”

WATCH: The Kiffness adds his voice to protests against seismic blasts by Shell

The Kiffness took to his social media pages to release a song in protest against the operation.

Inspired by John Lennon's Imagine, titled Reimagine, the artist drew attention to the potential damage and lasting negative impacts that may be caused.

“Imagine no seismic blasting,” the song starts.

“It’s easy if you try.

“No Shell on the Wild Coast.

“And no government ties.

“Imagine all the creatures, living in the sea…” it continues.

Meanwhile, a court case is ongoing after an urgent interim interdict was brought before the Makhanda High Court to prevent Shell from embarking on the survey.

The lawyers acting for the applicants in this case are the Legal Resources Centre and Richard Spoor Inc, Attorneys.

Zukulu said the lawyers were to have filed the interdict yesterday, and he would confirm later if this had been done.

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Shell's seismic blasting vessel met with protest by Cape environmentalists

By Kristin Engel - 22. November 2021

Cape Town - The Amazon Warrior, a 130m-long seismic blasting vessel hired by oil giant Shell, arrived in Cape Town Harbour on Sunday morning, only to be met by a large gathering of environmental activists and concerned citizens opposed to the oil and gas exploration by Shell Exploration and Production.

Protesters entered the water around the Amazon Warrior as she approaches Cape Town Harbour. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)
Protesters entered the water around the 'Amazon Warrior' as she approaches Cape Town Harbour. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

This was the ship’s last stop before it was set to begin a seismic survey searching for oil and gas on the Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast.

A petition against this oil exploration, which was fast approaching 150 000 signatures, by OceansNotOil said Shearwater GeoServices would begin the five-month survey in December and drag up to 48 air guns methodically through 6 011km² of ocean surface, firing shock wave emissions that penetrate through 3km of water and 40km into the Earth’s crust below the seabed.

South African Association for Marine Biological Research conservation strategist Judy Mann said marine seismic surveys were used by the petroleum industry to map potential deposits of oil and gas under the seabed – they did this exploration to see if there was oil or gas, in sufficient quantities, to start exploratory drilling, which was the next phase in the process before extraction or mining.

Mann said the potential short-term, non-sustainable benefits to be gained from oil and gas were largely outweighed by the environmental risks posed by exploring and using non-renewable energy resources, especially along this vulnerable coastline.

As part of the growing campaign against this venture, various environmental organisations, activists and concerned individuals teamed up to “unwelcome” the Amazon Warrior when it arrived in Cape Town and continued their efforts with a protest walk from Muizenberg Beach to Kalk Bay Beach on Sunday.

Around 100 protesters stand on the harbour wall holding posters and chanting in protest. Picture: Armand Hough/ African News Agency (ANA)

Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DEFF) spokesperson Albi Modise said Impact Africa Limited applied for exploration rights in terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Development Resources Act (MPRDA) in 2013, which was approved by the minister responsible for Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) or his delegate, in terms of MPRDA.

Modise said the DEFF were not involved in any aspect of this decision-making process for the proposed exploration activities, including the environmental impacts thereof, particularly as the application process was finalised prior to the One Environmental System that came into effect in 2014.

Environmental organisations, activists and concerned individuals gathering at Muizenberg Beach for a protest walk to Kalk Bay Beach to show their dissatisfaction with the Amazon Warrior. Picture: Cathy Douwes/Supplied

Green Connection strategic lead Liz McDaid said: “They've used a legal loophole, there's no environmental authorisation needed, and yet the seismic survey is going to impact marine life and therefore the lives of fishers who depend on the marine resources.”

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe said environmentalists were making the debate linear because energy poverty was not being factored in.

Regarding the transition to renewable energy Mantashe said there has been a lot of growth, they issued Bid Window 5 last week which was set to be followed by Big Window 6 in January and then Bid Window 7 for the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).

Mantanshe said, "Sometimes this uproar of renewables is not about renewables, it's about killing all other technologies in energy. I think that is counterproductive. We are a developing economy with energy poverty and we must deal with that issue carefully and navigate the transition in a just and inclusive way."

If they approved a project, Mantashe said the project knows they must get environmental assessment, water assessments and many others done.

Author:

Kristin Engel can be reached via