South Africa Can Not Be Following The Same Pattern Of Extractivism And Exploitation Of Fossil Fuels Amid A Climate Crisis

Shell was sent packing by the courts last year on the 1st  of September 2022, in the Wild Coast Eastern Cape after the Court found that the consultation carried out was procedurally unfair due to failure to consult (or adequately consult) with interested and affected communities.  The exploration right relied upon by Shell to undertake 2D & 3D seismic surveys was found to be fatally defective. This judgment has since been appealed by Shell. The Batho Batho Trust, in which the ANC holds a significant stake, in turn has a 28% stake in the British multinational company’s downstream business in South Africa. Batho Batho Trust  is one of the funders of the ruling party ANC.  Shell has again surfaced as one of the rights holders in offshore Block 5/6/7 to the west and south of Cape Town, together with Total Energies EP South Africa (TEEPSA) and PetroSA.

In April this year, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy recently granted the French company environmental authorisation to drill up to 5 exploration wells in Block 5/6/7. The  Green Connection and Natural Justice appealed to Minister Barbara Creecy to overturn the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy approval. The organisations set out a number of grounds of appeal, and alleged that the authorisation flaunted the principles of the UN biodiversity framework adopted in Montreal 2023 and the Paris Agreement South Africa signed in 2016. The Green Connection believes that coastal livelihoods would be at risk if oil and gas exploration continues, and is baffled by the Minister of Environmental Affairs’ decision to give Total Energies a green light to drill for oil and gas off the South and West Coast of South Africa. The organisations are also concerned over the consequences a major oil spill could have on small-scale fisher livelihoods and marine biodiversity, as well as the climate change impacts of greenhouse gas emissions should any gas discovered be used to generate electricity. There is also significant potential for greenhouse gas leaks (mostly methane) during the extraction and transportation of gas.  But the real question here is, why is the Minister of Energy pushing for oil and gas instead of a just energy transition? Are there any vested interests?

We can’t run away from climate issues as the impoverished people face the music of decisions made by politicians – Just last year, Durban experienced floods where 459 lives were claimed. Money that could have been spent on providing renewable energy services to marginalised people.  The time to act is now! We are in a climate crisis, the time for talking is over – we need to see implementation and action!


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