Hundereds of protesters gathered outside Parliment in Cape Town to protest against fracking in the Karoo as well as the rest of South Africa. Picture: Greg Maxwell

Cape Town - South Africans are not prepared to let foreign companies strip the country’s resources, take the profits overseas and leave the country “like a giant toilet bowl”.

Jonathan Deal, chairman of the anti-fracking lobby Treasure Karoo Action Group, made the comment at a protest meeting, attended by more than 200 people, outside Parliament on Saturday.

“This is not a happy time, but a sober reflection of the ill-conceived plan of the South African government to license fracking in this country.

“South Africans are sending a message to the government that we are not prepared to be pushed around by foreign mining companies,” said Deal, one of the speakers who addressed the protesters to mark “global anti- fracking day”.

Deal said he had examined the report of the task team that the government had appointed to probe fracking, and found it contained no comment from the ministries of transport, tourism, heritage, agriculture, rural development or health.

“How can the government decide about this without those ministries talking? How can they say it’s safe?” Deal asked.

Pastor Barry Wuganaale, a member of the Ogoni Solidarity Forum, told the group he had lived in the Niger Delta, where the land of the Ogoni people had been horribly polluted by oil. “One thing our Ogoni people in the Niger Delta are rich in is our appalling experience with Shell. I would be doing a disservice to mankind if I did not share it.

“Africa has been raped. The scars of environmental rape will haunt generations afterwards, so don’t allow it [fracking]. We Ogoni people have resisted Shell without any legislation. You have legislation backing you, you have freedom of the press, exploit it,” Wuganaale said.

Bishop Geoff Davies said fracking not only threatened water supplies but also released methane gas, a greenhouse gas 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

Shell spokeswoman Janine Nel said Shell would use the equivalent of only about two to three municipal swimming pools of water per well in the exploratory phase.

If granted a licence, the company would conduct a study “where all concerns raised will be addressed”. - Cape Times