Wild Coast communities have declared victory as their urgent interdict to halt petroleum giant Shell’s seismic testing off the coast was granted.
The Makhanda High Court Judge Gerald Bloem found that the exploration right granted to the company was based on a substantially flawed consultation process – deeming it unlawful and invalid. He ruled that Shell is under a duty to meaningfully consult with communities and individuals impacted by the seismic survey.
Shell is now interdicted from continuing its seismic test for oil and gas pending the finalisation of Part B of the application.
This relates to whether or not Shell requires an environmental authorisation under the National Environmental Management Act NEMA. They can also now challenge the awarding of the exploration rights.
The application was brought by mainly rural communities who are said to hold customary rights, including fishing rights. They also are said to have a special spiritual and cultural connection to the ocean.
Shell and the Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe have been ordered to pay the applicant’s legal costs.