Communities, civil society, and small-scale fishers have been accused of taking their fight against Shell to the courts instead of speaking to the Mineral Resources and Energy Department.
But their advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi told the Makhanda High Court that Minister Gwede Mantashe has already shown his allegiance to the oil giant.
He contends that this bias meant that their concerns about the seismic survey would not receive attention.
Minister Mantashe says that those opposed to the oil and gas exploration of engaging in colonialism and apartheid of a special sort masquerading as environmental protection.
Ngcukaitobi argues that Minister Mantashe is ignorant of who he is meant to protect and has chosen to defend a company headquartered in the UK.
The seismic exploration sends out loud pulses into the ocean floor to determine where the oil and gas reserves may be on the Wild Coast.
Shell will be accompanied by marine biologists who will monitor the animals in the ocean.
They have vowed to suspend the exploration if whales are detected in the area.
[Header image: Oceans Not Oil]