A sample of over 30 residents randomly interviewed in six Karoo towns last week revealed that many people there know little to nothing about hydraulic fracturing for shale gas, commonly known as fracking.
The interviews were conducted by Jonathan Deal, director of anti-fracking organization Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG) during a five-day trip through the Karoo which included the towns of Touws River, Beaufort West, o Graaff-Reinet, Nieu Bethesda and Cradock to find out how informed locals were about plans to extract shale gas through fracking in the area.
During the interviews, at which West Cape News was present, some of the residents laughed when asked what they knew about fracking, assuming it was a swear word, while other expressed bewilderment.
Deal said his aim was to verify government and oil and gas industry claims that Karoo residents were aware of plans to frack in the Karro.
Sebastian Jacobs, who is unemployed and lives in the Karoo town of Aberdeen said he did not know about fracking and urged the municipality there to come up with a programme to educate people about this method of mining.
He said the community were not informed about the environmental implications of fracking on the environment or its effects on groundwater.
Michael Jonkers, who worked for the municipality on the road between Beaufort West and Aberdeen, seemed perplexed when asked if he knew about fracking.
He said it was first time he had heard the word.
Vuyokazi Chibi, who stays in Graaff-Reinet said she heard about the issue when she was visiting in East London but did not know what it meant.
She said she would like to learn more about the mining activity and its impact on the lives of the people of the Karoo.
But Patrick Mazanisani in Graaff-Reinet said he knew about fracking and would support shale gas mining if it would result in reducing the price of electricity. – Francis Hweshe