The civil rights organisation AfriForum and the Treasure the Karoo Action Group’s (TKAG’s) succeeded in its appeal against the Ministers of Mineral Resources and Environmental Affairs to aside the regulations on petroleum exploration and production – as promulgated in 2015 and which allows for fracking in South Africa.
A full bench judges today ruled in favour of AfriForum and TKAG in the Appeals Court in Bloemfontein. AfriForum and TKAG have been involved in litigation for years to prevent the implementation of fracking for gas extraction in the Karoo.
AfriForum and TKAG maintained that the regulations were illegal on several grounds. The Court indeed found that the Minister for Mineral Resources do not have the power and authority to implement the regulations for petroleum exploration and production. The Minister ought to have taken ownership of the process and regulations, however.
Morné Mostert, Head of Local Government Affairs at AfriForum, says that this is a major victory to ensure that our environment is preserved. “We must ensure that future generations have a place in which to live sustainably. We cannot afford to take short-sighted decision.”
He says that the ruling is proof of the necessity that the Departments of Mineral Resources and Environmental Affairs should consult with organisations like AfriForum and TKAG, rather than blatantly continuing and making wrong decisions.
Jonathan Deal, CEO of TKAG, says that today’s ruling justifies the reservations that AfriForum and TKAG had about the regulations and fracking technology. “The victory was made possible thanks to AfriForum’s continued support and resources to wage the court battle. AfriForum protects civil and human rights; it works to the benefit of the man on the street and the community. We will continue with them to protect the country against the damages of fracking.
“South Africa simply does not have enough resources to handle this industry – water is a resource that one simply cannot waste,” Deal says.
Shell has already down scaled its fracking plans in the Karoo as a result of continuous pressure from AfriForum and TKAG.
AfriForum and TKAG won the court application with costs.