In separate media statements issued today, controversial Afrikaner civil rights pressure group AfriForum and anti-fracking organisation Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG) announced that they would work jointly to prevent the hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as fracking, in the Karoo.
Making the announcement, TKAG chair Jonathan Deal, said campaigning against shale gas mining in South Africa over the last two years had been challenging “because of our extremely limited resources”.
He said they were “very pleased to partner with an organisation that shares our vision of sustainable development for South Africa.
“The unequivocal support of Afri-Forum will change things dramatically, and TKAG can now concentrate on the almost certain legal battle which lies ahead,” said Deal.
He added that legal firm Cullinan &Associates would be managing their legal campaign.
Julius Kleynhans, head of environmental affairs for AfriForum, said it was “exciting to partner with an organisation who shares our values of integrity and our vision of sustainable development with a view to the long-term prosperity of South Africa – for all South Africans”.
He said incidents of mining-related pollution across South Africa had shown that regulations and environmental management plans were not adequately adhered to.
“Authorities have proven their inability to enforce standards and our laws. Good practice only appears on paper.
“There are numerous legislative, technical, economic and environmental issues that indicate a clear need for a credible strategic environmental assessment before the issuing of even exploration licences can be justified.
“The risks linked to shale gas mining are enormous and we are of the opinion that, based on the evidence currently available, the case for shale gas mining has not yet been proven,” he said.
He said that his organisation would partner with TKAG in several actions, including court cases against shale gas mining in the Karoo.
Kleynhans said Afriforum was not a “racial organisation” and their involvement was meant to benefit “all South Africans”.
He said a huge number of South Africans remained uninformed about fracking and one of their campaigns would include educating ordinary people what the mining technique was all about.
Mining Minister Susan Shabangu has vowed to defend government’s decision to allow shale gas exploration in the Karoo.
The Democratic Alliance and Congress of the People are among some of the political parties which have opposed fracking. - Francis Hweshe