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A COMMUNITY MEMORANDUM TO THE SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT
VIA MINISTER SUSAN SHABANGU /DEPARTMENT MINERAL RESOURCES
BAN FRACKING IN SOUTH AFRICA
As concerned South African citizens, we condemn the SA Government’s decision to lift the moratorium on fracking in South Africa. We urge our government not to fall for the empty promises of multinational oil and gas companies at the expense of future generations of our country. The state has a key role to play in putting the people first. South Africa is not for sale!
We call for a permanent and total ban of fracking in South Africa on the following grounds:
1. Fracking uses water unsustainably and threatens South Africa’s scarce water resources.
Fracking depletes water through removing water permanently from the water cycle, unlike agriculture and other industries where water is essentially recycled into the atmosphere. 98% of South Africa’s water resources are already allocated, and demand could exceed supply in the near future. Our constitution guarantees each person the right to clean water and air, and we condemn our government’s decision to allow our water resources to be used in this unsustainable way.
Water is our most vulnerable and precious resource. Securing our water future should take precedence and not be compromised by efforts to secure our energy future!
2. Fracking threatens to pollute the scarce groundwater supplies in the arid Karoo.
South African scientists have cautioned that fracking poses a definite threat of groundwater contamination due to the unique geology of the Karoo. Furthermore, the disposal of highly toxic waste water is a proven source of large-scale contamination in areas where fracking is currently taking place, such as the USA.
3. Fracking threatens the health and livelihoods of local residents.
Fracking threatens the existing sustainable agricultural economy of the Karoo and the livelihoods of farm workers, as well as sustainable jobs presently supplied by the tourism industry. There are significant health risks, including cancer, at every stage of shale gas development, from air and water pollution.
4. Fracking will negatively impact equitable land redistribution, by polluting and devaluing the land.
We condemn any decision to hand over vast areas of South African soil to multinational oil and gas corporations for shale gas development, which will destroy and devalue the land. Those likely to be most negatively affected are the landless rural poor in the Karoo, and fracking will not address skewed landownership patterns or the widening gap between rich and poor in South Africa.
5. Fracking is not a climate change solution, and will not solve South Africa’s carbon emission problems.
We are currently on a trajectory to catastrophic climate change that will have devastating human and economic costs. The high carbon footprint of shale gas development, together with fugitive methane emissions that are typically much higher than estimated by the industry, offset any possible climate benefits that switching to shale gas could have. It is not true that shale gas will solve South Africa’s carbon emission problems.
6. There are alternatives to secure South Africa’s energy needs sustainably, while also creating many long-term, sustainable job opportunities.
The Karoo is eminently suitable for renewable energy projects, notably solar, and as South African citizens, we demand that our government pursues a truly low carbon, renewable energy future, and implement all measures, investment and legislation, to allow renewable energy forthwith.
7. Fracking threatens our constitutional rights.
We believe that shale gas development is above all a human rights issue, and remind our government that our constitution guarantees each citizen of our country the right to clean water, clean air and a healthy environment. We demand that the decisions they make on our behalf, and on behalf of generations to come, should not in any way infringe on these rights.
THIS DOCUMENT SIGNED AND SUPPORTED BY THE FOLLOWING ORGANISATIONS ON BEHALF OF THEIR MEMBERSHIP OF INTERESTED AND AFFECTED PARTIES IN THE ACTION TO OPPOSE SHALE GAS MINING IN SOUTH AFRICA.
African Conservation Trust
Agter-Sneeuberg Game Reserve
Alternative Information & Development Centre (AIDC)
Anglican Diocese of KZN (Bishop Rubin Phillip)
Beaufort Wes Distriks Landbou Vereniging
Bikers Against Fracking
Biowatch South Africa (www.biowatch.org.za)
BirdLife South Africa
Climate Justice Campaign (CJC)
Coalition for Environmental Justice (CEJ)
Compassberg Protected Environment (CPE)
Democratic Left Front (DFL)
Earthlife Africa Cape Town (ELA CT)
Earthlife Africa eThekwini (ELA eThekwini)
Earthlife Africa Johannesburg (ELA JHB)
Eastern Cape Environmental Network
Economic Justice Network of FOCCISA
Environmental Monitoring Group (EMG)
First Indigenous Women’s Movement
Global Call to Action against Poverty – South Africa (GCAP-SA)
Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance (GCCA)
Karoo Meat of Origin (www.karoomeatoforigin.com)
Kwazulu-Natal Inter-Religious Council (Wilfrid Cardinal Napier OFM)
Magqubu Ntombela Memorial Foundation (www.mnf.org.za)
Methodist Church of Southern Africa, Natal Coastal District
Million Climate Jobs
Mondi Wetlands Programme (www.wetland.org.za)
Nama Karoo Foundation (www.namakaroo.com)
National Welfare Forum
Nieu-Bethesda Emerging Red Meat Producers
Nieu-Bethesda Small Farmers
Ogoni Solidarity Forum
Platberg Karoo Raptor Project (Endangered Wildlife Trust)
Renu-Karoo Veld Restoration cc
Siyazama Women’s Movement in Khayelitsha
Sneeuberg Agricultural Association
South African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI)
South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA)
Southern Cape Land Committee (SCLC)
Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Project (SECCP)
The Cathedral of St Michael and St George, Grahamstown
The Film Club
The Green Times
The Habitat Council
The Wild Foundation (www.wild.org)
The Wilderness Foundation
Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG)
UCT Green Campus Initiative
Umphilo waManzi (Dr Mary Galvin)
Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa
Statement from Southern Cape Land Commitee:
The Southern Cape Land Committee (SCLC) was expecting the response from parliament regarding the lifting of the moratorium on the exploration for shale gas. It is in line with the priority given to multinational investors and the accumulation of profits, especially through mining. The ongoing conversion of agricultural land and the jeopardizing of our precious natural resources like water is short sighted and demonstrates a lack of will for land reform and agrarian transformation. Surely we should be exploring renewable sources of energy which have the potential to provide as many jobs, and one thing the Karoo definitely has is wind and sunshine. Or will this not generate enough profits to the big companies and their affiliated BEE partners? SCLC will continue to raise awareness and critical debate around the negative impact which fracking will have on tenure security, land redistribution, small-scale agriculture and food sovereignity.
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