News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Wednesday June 19th 2019

Activists protest against fracking

Scores of anti-fracking activists gather outside parliament with placards condemning fracking. Photo: Francis Hweshe/WCN


Scores of anti-fracking activists including clerics and children upped the ante against the exploration for gas in the Karoo which has been sanctioned by the government.

Led by the Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG), the protesters, some of whom had travelled from the Karoo while others from various parts of the city held out glaring placards condemning fracking.

Some of the placards and t-shirts had messages had strong messages calling on South Africans to join in the anti-fracking movement by boycotting Shell garages.

Shell, which is reviled by some activists for its mining activities in countries such as oil-rich Nigeria, is one of the five companies that have applied to the Department of Mineral Resources to explore for shale gas in the Karoo.

In direct attack of Shell, some of the protesters held out placards which read: “frack of $hell,” “Shell lies,” “boycott Shell now”, while other messages were “We cant’t drink gas or money,” “Don’t frack in the Karoo,” and “don’t frack with our future”.

Fracking is an informal term which refers to hydraulic fracturing of rocks underground  using tonnes of liters of water laced with a cocktail of chemicals to release shale gas trapped in the rocks.

Thus far 56 organisations have since signed a petition to register their disapproval of fracking.

Addressing the crowd, TKAG national coordinator Jonathan Deal said fracking was not a safe form of mining because it had been rejected in several jurisdictions around the world.

He asked why South Africa should accept it when countries such as France and Bulgeria had rejected it.

He said fracking would leave South Africa like a “giant toilet bowl” shouting  out that multinational companies planning to explore for gas should  “go and frack in London and Holland.”

He accused the Minister of Mineral Resources Shabangu of failing to regulate pollution by the mining industry and would also fail to control the damage set to be caused by fracking in the Karoo.

Nigerian activist Barry Wuganaale from the Ogoni Solidarity Forum who addressed the crowd on how they fought to stop Shell from mining for petroleum in his community of Ogoni back in his homeland.

Wuganaale who fled his home country nine years ago because of persecution told the crowd that they should keep fighting and stop fracking in South Africa because it would damage the environment.

Louise Venter who had travelled from Oudtshoorn to join the protest said though she had not been born an activist, “we will keep fighting until the end.”

She feared that fracking would impact on the water sources in the community, adding that their family living in Beaufort West were likely to be directly affected by the activity.

Luleka Gxothiswa from Khayelitsha said she had joined the march because the nation should join forces to preventing fracking because it was bad for the environment.

Muhammad Ridwaan Gallant head of environmental desk at the Muslim Judiciary Council said they were fully behind the TKAG, saying the government should champion renewable energies instead of fracking in order to meet the energy needs of the nation and create jobs. – Francis Hweshe

Tags: Anti-fracking, Barry Wuganaale, Department of Mineral Resources, Jonathan Deal, Karoo, Louise Venter, Luleka Gxothiswa, Muhammad Ridwaan Gallant, Muslim Judiciary Council, Ogoni Solidarity Forum, Shabangu, Shell, TKAG, Treasure Karoo Action Group

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