Group launches ‘access to info’ request

2011-08-16 10:56

The Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG) has invoked the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to obtain information about government’s fracking task team and its report to Cabinet.

Requests for access to information had been submitted to the Council for Geosciences, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the departments of trade and industry, mineral resources, and science and technology, and the Petroleum Agency of SA, TKAG chairperson Jonathan Deal said today.

“We have repeatedly asked [Mineral Resources] Minister [Susan] Shabangu to take the public into her confidence and share information about the fracking task team with TKAG and all other interested and affected South Africans but our requests have fallen on deaf ears,” he said in a statement.

“Consequently, we have now been forced to formally request this information under the provisions of PAIA.”

The mineral resources department announced earlier this year that a multi-disciplinary task team would be investigating the merits of fracking in the Karoo and report back to Cabinet.

Since then very little had been made public about the task team or its report, he said.

In its requests, TKAG asked for the terms of reference and/or instructions relating to the research to be conducted by the task team on hydraulic fracturing, the identities and qualifications of the individual task team members, minutes of all task team meetings, a copy of the most recent version of the task team’s report, and all research documents relating to hydraulic fracturing and which had been, or might be, used by the task team.

“There are so many unanswered questions about this ‘mystery’ task team which has been conducting its affairs behind closed doors.
“It is time the minister told us what is going on,” Deal said.

The TKAG group has emerged as the coordinating body, representative of a broad range of stakeholders concerned with the plans of oil and gas companies to extract shale gas from the Karoo basin.

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