Mineral Resources Minister, Susan Shabangu was ordered by Pretoria Judge Ben du Plessis to supply anti-fracking lobby group Treasure the Karoo Action Group with an affidavit stating why the Department of Mineral Resources did not want to reveal details about a task team investigating the gas-extraction technique.  (Reporter Sue Blaine of the Business Day 10 Jan 2012. Click here for the original article.

Unconfirmed reports claim that South Africa has large shale gas deposits, by some estimates the world’s fifth-largest, stretching from the Karoo to the foothills of the Drakensberg.  With the depletion of oil and high quality coal world wide and the rising costs of extracting both, petrochemical companies view shale gas as an increasingly attractive alternative.  Shell’s application for rights to test for shale gas in the Karoo with the view to mining using the hydraulic fracturing method (fracking) is highly contentious with the potential for significant negative environmental and social impacts. (see the comment section post about the fracking well blow-out in Canada)

Ms Shabangu had put a moratorium on shale gas prospecting in part to give the task force time to investigate fracking. Her action was initially applauded by people concerned about the implications of fracking. However, the secrecy surrounding the make up of the task group, who its members represent and its brief has subsequently undermined the credibility of the task group.

 It appears that while the directors-general of the departments of mineral resources, science and technology, and trade and industry, and the CEO of the Petroleum Agency of SA are part of the task group, there are no representatives from the departments of water affairs, environmental affairs or agriculture!!!

 Treasure the Karoo Action Group (TKAG) has indicated that they will take further court action if the affidavit from the Department of Mineral Resources is inadequate or if they do not received it.

TKAG calls for public funding support

“2012 is going to see a big push from Shell et al to get fracking approved in SA.”
TKAG Chair, Jonathan Deal said: “TKAG has been in the forefront of the anti-fracking campaign for a year now.  We are staffed by volunteers, many of whom have used their own resources to mount this credible and effective opposition to fracking.  We need the South African public to become financially involved – as a matter of urgency.  2012 is going to see a big push from Shell et al to get fracking approved in SA. Supporters can visit our website and make a monthly donation to keep us funded”… click here