Cape Town - The shale gas under the Karoo is a blessing from God, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters told MPs on Thursday.
Speaking at the end of debate on her department's budget vote in the National Assembly, she said it was Ascension Day, “when Jesus ascended to heaven to sit next to God”.
Peters then suggested it would be wrong not to use hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking, to exploit the resources God had left behind.
“It would be wrong for us to not use the resources that God left us with. This is a blessing that God gives us, and we need to exploit for the benefit of the people.”
The people of the Karoo were “going hungry”, she said.
Earlier on Wednesday, Peters told a media briefing at Parliament that if economical quantities of shale gas were proven to exist under the Karoo, “let us extract it”.
She said it had to be extracted safely.
Cabinet is expected to receive a report on shale gas exploration in the Karoo by the end of July.
Peters told journalists on Wednesday: “It is my wish and prayer on a daily basis that when the report is tabled... it will say to us the gas is there, and you can extract it safely for the benefit of the people of South Africa.” - Sapa