Narissa Subramoney
Copy rewriter
2 minute read
21 Dec 2021
1:32 pm

Judgment reserved in second interdict against Shell’s Wild Coast exploration

Narissa Subramoney

The latest application was brought on behalf of the Amadiba, Dwesa-Cwebe, Port Saint Johns and Kei Mouth communities.

Judgment has been reserved “until further notice” in the second urgent interdict application against oil and petroleum giant Royal Dutch Shell.

Shell has been conducting a 3D seismic survey along the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape since the beginning of December, to look for oil and gas.

Concerned residents and environmental groups are arguing the seismic blasting is taking place at the expense of marine life and violates several cultural rights of the indigenous people living on the coast.

This is the second legal battle Shell and the government is fighting in the Eastern Cape High Court in Makhanda.

The latest application was brought on behalf of the Amadiba, Dwesa-Cwebe, Port Saint Johns and Kei Mouth communities by the Legal Resources Center and Richard Spoor Attorneys.

In Friday’s hearings, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe was slammed for being “unequivocal” in his support Shell.

Also Read: Objecting to oil, gas exploration a ‘special type of colonialism’, says Mantashe

Mantashe had labelled court action against the seismic blasting as “engaging in colonialism and apartheid of a special sort.”

The minister had suggested in court papers that concerned communities 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,” said Ngcukaitobi.

Meanwhile, legal teams who brought the first interdict application are waiting to hear if they will be granted leave to appeal the dismissal.

That application was brought by Border Deep Sea Angling Association, Kei Mouth Ski Boat Club, Natural Justice and Greenpeace Africa.

Acting Judge Avinash Govindjee had ruled in favour of Shell, saying the community’s argument that seismic blasting would be detrimental to marine life was “speculative at best”, and that the balance of convenience favoured Shell. 

Since that judgment on 3 December, Shell has forged ahead with its oil and gas exploration. But its efforts are marred by ongoing legal action, with some boycotting the petroleum giant.

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