Citizen Reporter
Reporter
2 minute read
18 Dec 2021
6:00 am

Clueless Gwede is ‘insulting’, say concerned organisations in Shell seismic interdict

Citizen Reporter

Mantashe suggested in court papers the communities concerned about Shell’s seismic survey should have exhausted all options, including an internal appeal, before taking legal action.

Gwede Mantashe. Picture: Gallo Images/Jeffrey Abrahams

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe remains “unequivocal” in his support for oil and petroleum
giant Royal Dutch Shell.

Shell and two government departments – the other being the department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries – were fighting another urgent interdict application in the Eastern Cape High Court in Makhanda on Friday.

The application was brought by seven concerned groups, including the Amadiba Crisis Committee, Sustaining the Wild Coast and the Dwesa Cwebe Communal Property Association.

During the hearing, Mantashe was described as “ignorant and gravely insulting” for accusing communities living on the Wild Coast of engaging in “colonialism and apartheid of a special sort”.

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Mantashe suggested in court papers the communities concerned about Shell’s seismic survey should have exhausted all options, including an internal appeal, before taking legal action.

But advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, representing the community organisations, said even if residents had taken the matter up through an internal appeal, Mantashe had clearly “nailed his colours to the Shell mast”.

“He has been unequivocal that he supports Shell,” he said.

“The language he used was unfortunate. He accused the communities of engaging in colonialism and apartheid of a special sort, masquerading as environmental protection.”

He said it was insulting for Mantashe to defend Shell, whose headquarters are in London.

The new application argues Shell needs authorisation for the seismic survey under the National Environmental Management Act and accuses the petroleum giant of failing to adequately consult affected communities.

The Dwesa Cwebe Communal Property Association represents communities which hold customary fishing rights and which will be affected by the negative effects of seismic activity.

“The consultation process carried out by Shell was woefully inadequate. The exploration right, which was awarded on the basis of that defective consultation process, is thus unlawful and invalid,” argued Ngcukaitobi.

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The Dwesa Cwebe community said the seismic blasting would also trample their cultural rights.

Many Nguni clans believe their ancestors reside in the sea and in certain rivers and streams and disturbing them will bring “great distress”.

Environmentalists argue the reports Shell is relying on are eight years old.

The first application, which was dismissed in the high court this month, involved Natural Justice: Lawyers for Communities and the Environment, Greenpeace Africa, the Border Deep Sea Angling Association and the Kei Mouth Ski Boat Club.

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