The ANC must learn to consult

Environmental Affairs
 Media statement

23 July 2013

AfriForum and TKAG 

Cape Town.

This is the view of Treasure Karoo Action Group CEO, Jonathan Deal, who responded swiftly to the statement by the ANC secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe, that “the Government will forge ahead with contentious projects that it claims will kick-start the stuttering economy – even if it is taken to court.”

Deal pointed out that the ANC has allowed the decision about shale gas development to become mired in secrecy and misinformation. And, with the exception of certain maverick statements by various ministers, the ANC has been largely absent in this debate. Suddenly, the issues of job creation and economic development are used to push through “contentious projects” even though the public participation process has not been concluded and environmental impact studies indicate that shale gas mining will wreak havoc on the area. “And naturally, government ministers have no issue with going to court because they are not accountable for the legal costs,” Deal said.

“AfriForum is very concerned about the attitude of the ANC regarding these issues. Our Government preaches sustainable development and democracy, while it simultaneously ignores the Constitutional rights of its citizens. The e-toll saga is a striking example of the way Government disregards the rights and concerns of ordinary people. This ill-advised stance on fracking is another,” says Julius Kleynhans, Head of Environmental Affairs at AfriForum.

“While TKAG is well aware of the issues that South Africa faces in terms of jobs and energy, research has proven that the so-called benefits of shale gas mining do not necessarily co-incide with the figures claimed by Royal Dutch Shell in their campaign to market shale gas to South Africa,” says Deal. “It defies belief that a half-hearted effort to research shale gas, and in the face of its own recalcitrance in the past the ANC is now promising to fast-track the process.”

Kleynhans added that fracking will not ensure sustainable job creation or energy in the country and that the long-term effects might cost the country much more. Acid mine drainage in the West Rand is but one example of economic development where a few benefited while the tax-payer has to bear the long-term effects of environmental damage and the financial burden.”

TKAG, AfriForum and their various alliances represent broad spectrum of South Africans who oppose fracking in the Karoo. Government appears to be unaware of this, or they simply do not care. Until such time as the efficacy of this type of development has been proven, the Alliance have vowed to oppose all plans to turn the Karoo into a mine dump. “We’ll meet you in court, Mr Mantashe,” promised Deal.

To support the Alliance campaign against fracking SMS “Karoo” to 31336. SMS charged at 50c.

Julius Kleynhans
Head: Environmental Affairs
Cell: 082 829 9182
Jonathan Deal
 Chief Executive, Treasure Karoo Action Group
 076 838 5150

Esmarie Prinsloo
 Head: Media Liaison
 Cell: 072 332 9824

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