Cape Town - Coastal communities recently gathered at various beaches to celebrate World Oceans Day and also to protest against the pollution and destructive consequences that industrial developments have on oceans and marine life.
Saldanha Bay Coastal Links, Langebaan Coastal links, Save Langebaan Lagoon, Green Connection and the small-scale fishing community gathered at Friday Island Beach and Saldanha Beach to protest against Karpowerships SA (KPSA), Turkish Karpowerships, and proposed offshore oil and gas drilling along South Africa’s coast.
KPSA was granted preferred bidder status earlier this year for three projects fuelled by liquefied natural gas to provide 1 220 megawatts of electricity in South Africa over 20 years. The projects will be located at the ports of Coega, Saldanha and Richards bay.
Green Connection’s Liziwe McDaid said: “Coastal communities live from and depend on healthy oceans, as they have done for generations. Offshore oil and gas poses too much risk for small-scale fishers and others who depend on the ocean.”
Langebaan Coastal Links chairperson Solene Smith said: “Recently, there has been an increase in industrial developments along the coast line that actually disrupt fishing and the quality of marine life, which is why we, as the community, say no to Karpowerships.”
Smith said that fishing was the legacy that many wanted to leave behind for future generations, but that dream may never be realised with the current threat to both marine life and their livelihoods that the Karpowerships project poses.
“We want to be included in co-management structures, not just because we fish but because we contribute to the community and depend on the bay for our livelihoods,” said the chairperson.
Saldanha Coastal Links chairperson Carmelita Mostert said the community and community fishers were proud to protect the ocean and beaches, as much of their livelihood depended on them.
“When I hear the word ‘Karpowerships’, I get upset, as is the case with most of the Saldanha and Langebaan communities. Our main concern with the Karpowerships is the impact it will have on our fishes, because if we can’t fish anymore, how are we going to feed our families and support our children? We will have nothing to live off of,” said Mostert.
Green Connection Strategic lead Liziwe McDaid said the aim of the protests on World Oceans Day was to spread awareness of the importance oceans have in people’s lives, and their duty to protect oceans and marine life from harm.
Department of Mineral Resources and Energy spokesperson Thandiwe Maimane said the Karpowerships matter was currently part of a litigation process.