Cape Town - Minerals and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has warned the country against taking companies wanting to invest in the upstream oil industry to court that this was killing investments.
He said on Tuesday, during the debate on the State of the Nation Address, no investor would want to come to a country where it would be taken to a court process for up to five years.
He said when Shell was chased away in South Africa it went to Namibia where it discovered oil.
The same happened with Italian oil company ENI when it was chased away in KwaZulu-Natal, it went to Cote d’Ivoire when it also discovered huge deposits of oil.
The government faced protests when it was revealed that Shell would conduct a seismic survey on the Wild Coast.
In KwaZulu-Natal the government had granted ENI permission to drill for oil and gas.
Mantashe said it would not help anyone to take these companies to court because it would hit the economy.
“The attempt to take upstream petroleum projects to court all the time is driven by the theme ‘kill investment’ through the court system. No investor will want to invest in South Africa if it has to go to three, four and five years of the legal system. We are killing the investment but we say we want investment. It’s a contradiction in terms.
“We must deal with that issue. We chased Shell here and they went to Namibia and discovered oil. We chased ENI in KZN, they went to Cote d’Ivoire and discovered huge oil deposits. That is what I describe as an island of angels that will starve to death,” said Mantashe.