Hundreds of protesters and performing artists gathered at Surfers Corner in Muizenberg to protest against seismic exploration by Shell. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)
Hundreds of protesters and performing artists gathered at Surfers Corner in Muizenberg to protest against seismic exploration by Shell. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Shell battle continues with appeal filed against first Wild Coast interdict judgment

By Kristin Engel Time of article published Dec 23, 2021

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Cape Town - After their initial court bid to halt seismic blasting along the Wild Coast was dismissed, the organisations behind the interdict application have filed an application for leave to appeal the judgment.

Dismissing the application by Border Deep Sea Angling Association, the Kei Mouth Ski Boat Club, Natural Justice and Greenpeace Africa on December 3 and ordering the applicants to pay the legal costs of Shell and Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, Acting Judge Avinash Govindjee would now have to decide if the applicants will be given leave to appeal.

Natural Justice head of campaigns Katherine Robinson said they were appealing because this was an issue of substantial public importance and they believed there were reasonable prospects of an appeal court finding.

The reasonable prospects were that Shell did not undertake the consultations which its own environmental management programme obliged it to take, that the risks of harm to marine life were real and not speculative, and that there was reasonable apprehension that the blasting would do irreparable harm if the interim interdict was not granted.

Just on Wednesday, Climate Justice Coalition secretary and 350 Africa campaigner Alex Lenferna alerted the public to a dead dolphin washed up at Chintsa, along the Wild Coast, where the blasting was currently occurring.

Lenferna said it was difficult to know whether it was caused by Shell’s blasting, but it was what one might expect.

The organisations argued that the Eastern Cape High Court should have issued a rule nisi directing the parties to return to court for a more in-depth hearing, should have granted an interim interim interdict to stop Shell starting the seismic survey before that hearing, and should not have made a punitive costs order when they were acting in the public interest.

Robinson said the date for the appeal application hearing was not set yet but it was likely to be early next year, while Shell indicated they would oppose the application for leave to appeal.

Border Deep Sea Angling Association vice-chairperson John Luef said: “It’s ludicrous that this is even being considered as an option by our government to look for gas and oil reserves in an evolving ‘greener’ world in any of our coastal waters, let alone the extremely biodiverse and sensitive Wild Coast.”

Luef said they would not take this lying down and would do all in their power to put a stop to it.

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