Civil Society Impatiently Waiting For Shell’s Wild Coast Seismic Surveys To Be Stopped, For Good

Since the announcement of Shell seismic surveys on the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape last year, outraged communities and environmental organisations took the company to court following a flawed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and failed community consultations. On 28 December 2021, the Makhanda High court ordered Shell to stop this seismic survey. Subsequently, the court dismissed Shell’s appeal. The court trial is underway in Gqeberha High Court to decide whether to bar Shell permanently from blasting up South Africa’s pristine Wild Coast. Shell is infamous for its human and environmental rights violations. 

Small-scale fishers and environmental defenders, like Nandipha Nogwina and Sifiso Ntsunguzi from Port St John’s Eastern Cape, are hopeful that the court will uphold their rights.  

A Green Connection Legacy Programme activist, Nogwina says, “As small-fishers, we face many challenges due to oil and gas developments that the government wants to undertake in the ocean. What makes things worse is that these projects are kicking off without consultation with us. They would know that oil and gas exploration would severely affect coastal communities if they consulted us. We are apprehensive that we will need to move from our homes and will be cut off from our places of work due to these activities.” 

Nandipha Nogwina (left) and Sifiso Ntsunguzi (right), 2022 Legacy Programme Participants from Eastern Cape

Coastal communities call for the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) to engage in meaningful public consultation with affected communities on developments that will affect them. These communities also want to be part of the just transition. Poor coastal communities are more likely to bear the brunt of global warming and climate change consequences. 

Additionally, fisherman Sifiso Ntsunguzi says, “I hope the court will consider the dire impacts seismic surveys will have on the oceans and that the judgement will favour small-scale fishers. The big corporate companies, such as Shell and Total, should not be allowed to destroy our ocean or come here and destroy the culture of fishing communities.” Part B of the case against Shell seismic in the Wild Coast was heard from the 30th of May to the 31st in Gqeberha High court and the judgment for the trial is reserved.

Community Members and Activists from Port St Johns, Eastern Cape Conducted A Picket Against Shell Seismic Survey On The Wet Coast

Written By: Lisa Makaula and Natasha Adonis

The Green Connection Legacy Programme equips the Green Connectors with advocacy skills to fight against environmental and socio-economic injustices through workshops and mentoring.

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