Members from various environmental organisations and activists joined in protest at SLR Consulting in Newlands. SLR is a company working with Shell that is scheduled to start seismic testing on the Wild Coast for a period of five months. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)
Members from various environmental organisations and activists joined in protest at SLR Consulting in Newlands. SLR is a company working with Shell that is scheduled to start seismic testing on the Wild Coast for a period of five months. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Greenpeace Africa welcomes judge’s ruling on Shell’s seismic survey

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published Dec 28, 2021

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Durban - The Grahamstown High Court in Makhanda on Tuesday granted an interdict against Shell’s seismic survey along the Wild Coast.

Judge Gerald Bloem granted the applicants Amadiba, Dwesa-Cwebe, Port St Johns and Kei Mouth communities an interdict against Shell.

In granting the interdict sought by communities affected by the blasting, and supporting civil society organisations, Judge Gerald Bloem said that Shell was under a duty to meaningfully consult with the communities and individuals who would be impacted by the seismic survey, and that based on the evidence provided, Shell failed to do so in the case of the applicant communities who hold customary rights, including fishing rights.

According to Greenpeace Africa, they also hold a special spiritual and cultural connection to the ocean. It was thus crucial for Shell to consult these communities and understand how the survey may impact upon them. They did not.

The judge found that the exploration right, which was awarded on the basis of a substantially flawed consultation process, is thus unlawful and invalid. The applicants’ right to meaningful consultation constitutes a prima facie right which deserves to be protected by way of an interim interdict.

Greenpeace Africa said Shell has been interdicted from undertaking seismic survey operations pending the finalisation of Part B of the application.

"A court will need to determine whether or not Shell requires an environmental authorisation obtained under NEMA, when part B of the application is dealt with at a date yet to be determined. The Applicants may also challenge the awarding of the exploration right based on the failed consultation. Shell may appeal the interim interdict, but it will not suspend the order at this stage," Greenpeace said in a statement.

Sustaining the Wild Coast's Nobuntu Mazeka said the judgment marks one of the important milestones in our lifetime as people of not only Pondoland, but South Africa, Africa and the world at large.

"We – the people – we took a stand in fighting against the BULLYING by Politicians, tenderpreneurs, the so called investors who undermine and threaten our livelihoods as ordinary people. The extraction of our natural resources is not a solution for so-called “poverty stricken communities” but a get rich quick scheme of those in power as well as financial control to the greedy Mafias of this world. We are living on borrowed time where money cannot buy their immunity; the mafias must be warned," Mazeka said.

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