CAPE TOWN - Public participation forum DearSA has called on South Africans to have their say on Mineral and Energy Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe’s approval for Shell and Impact Africa Limited to conduct seismic testing off the Wild Coast.
Rob Hutchinson for Dear SA said they had been informed that existing petitions in the public space on the controversial matter are addressed to the incorrect department, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment and Minister Barbara Creecy, and have been rejected.
“Furthermore, Change dot org petitions unfortunately hold zero legal influence in South African government affairs.
“However, we have provided an official public participation process, recognised by government, which carries far more legal impact than a petition,” Hutchinson said.
The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment on Monday said it noted concerns about the seismic surveys to be conducted by Shell and Impact Africa Limited off the coast of South Africa between December and February 2022.
“The impact of the seismic survey to be undertaken by Shell and Impact Africa has been authorised under the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 2002 (MRPDA) which under section 39(2) of the Act requires the submission of an environmental management plan which is to assess and evaluate the environmental impacts of the activity.
“The Minister of Minerals Resources and Energy is the minister responsible for the administration of the MPRDA, the minister responsible for environmental affairs is, therefore, not mandated to consider the application or to make a decision on the authorisation of the seismic survey,” the department said in a statement.
It noted that since the coming into effect of the One Environment System on December 8, 2014, the application process for the seismic surveys was finalised and all decisions made under the MPRDA at the time remain valid and binding until set aside by a court of law.
Objections, approvals or suggestions for Mantashe can be made via: https://dearsouthafrica.co.za/shell/
“Public comments are delivered to the correct channel in the correct format, and form a solid foundation for a legal case, if required. Personal contact details are protected and not visible to the government or anyone else,” Hutchinson said.