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Court halts Shell’s seismic survey along the Wild Coast

Court halts Shell’s seismic survey along the Wild Coast

By Brenda Masilela : 28 Dec 2021

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

This a second application made in the same court to stop oil multinational Shell’s seismic survey along South Africa’s Wild Coast.

Three weeks ago, Judge Avinash Govindjee dismissed the application by activists – including Greenpeace – to stop the survey on the basis that “irreparable harm” to marine species had not been proved.

On Tuesday, Judge Gerald Bloem granted the applicants Amadiba, Dwesa-Cwebe, Port St Johns and Kei Mouth communities an interdict against Shell. These communities are all recognised small-scale fishing communities, while the Dwesa-Cwebe community has had their customary rights to fishing recognised.

“In the circumstances, the Minister and Shell should be ordered to pay the applicants’ cost of the application, such costs to include the costs attendant upon the employment of the counsels, where so employed,” Bloem said in the judgement.

In their application, the applicants argued that Shell does not have the necessary environmental authorisation in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) to lawfully undertake seismic exploration activities in the area.

Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, SC, counsel for the Wild Coast communities and supporting NGOs, argued that Shell had failed completely to consult with the affected communities, despite the devastating impact that the seismic blasting will have.

Ngcukaitobi slammed Shell’s inadequate consultation under the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) as “farcical and a complete sham based on exclusion”.

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