Draft regulations on hydraulic fracturing will be open for public comment from next week.
Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu said the proposed rules for the process of extracting shale gas from the depths of the earth, known as fracking, would be made available on her department’s website.
There will be 30 days for public comment once published.
DA mineral resources spokesman James Lorimer said the technical regulations on petroleum exploration and exploitation should be implemented in line “with a proper charter with stringent control measures and penalties for transgressions in order to ensure compliance”.
He suggested fracking, which is envisaged in the arid Karoo region of the Western, Northern and Eastern Cape and Free State, should be done in accordance with land use planning by local and provincial authorities.
Shafts should be set at an agreed distance from agricultural and commercial buildings and worksites.
Water drill shafts should be collected and cleaned so as not to pollute surface or ground water resources, he said.
The Treasure the Karoo Action Group, which believes that no fracking should take place at all, said: “It is beyond embarrassing that the government of the economic powerhouse of Africa can be so gullible.”
The NGO’s chief executive, Jonathan Deal, told Sapa “It is not enough to swallow the promises of companies [which] gamble with the future of this country while promoting their own profit objectives”. – Donwald Pressly