Just stay ‘fracking off’

2015-11-11 06:01
                                                                                                  Photo: ian carbutt Protestors make clear their views outside what turned put to be a fracking non-meeting last week.

Photo: ian carbutt Protestors make clear their views outside what turned put to be a fracking non-meeting last week.

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

IF there were any fracking supporters in the audience at last Thursday's “non-meeting”, they remained well hidden.

About 400 people tried to cram into a venue which at most can hold 100-plus.

The meeting organiser, SLR Environmental, obviously had no idea of the depth of opposition and passion being manifested throughout the KZN Midlands as it attempted to outline its cause.

It became obvious that from a safety point of view, as well as the not-top-of-the-range audio equipment, that the postponement of the meeting was really the only option. There were individuals from all walks of life - farmers, householders, business people and a good representative of the young, looking towards their future, from Hermannsburg­ School and KwaSizabantu. Not only was it standing room only in the cramped venue, but the crowd spilt over into the street.

There was a high level of frustration as it was pointed out to the organiser that people had to take time off work to attend the meeting, which, apart from the unsuitable venue, had also been called at a most unsuitable time for workers.

Loud cheers and clapping followed the remarks of a lady who said that obviously Rhino and SLR were only interested in money, not the disadvantaged as SLR Environmental were not even prepared to spend money on the venue.

In response to a query Rhino Oil and Gas CEO, Phillip Steyn said that he and Patrick Mulligan had taken over a shell company and changed the directors - the parent company was in Texas. He said while he understood the emotions of the objectors, he also believed in what he was doing.

Rhino has applied to the Petroleum­ Agency of South Africa (Pasa) to explore over a million hectares across 10 000 farms in the KZN Midlands to look for natural gas deposits in the main, and minerals. It is required, before proceeding with such, to present Pasa with an environmental impact assessment, including public consultation.

SLR consultant Matthew Hemming said after the meeting that they had received only objections at the previously held seven meetings in the Midlands and said there were a number of steps to be followed in the process, but it was obvious that the Midlands public was doing its best to prevent such projects from the start.

Kwanalu president Andy Buchan­ of Greytown said: "This is the biggest environmental and socio-economic threat to the province and country. Our water is what drives this economy­. We are strongly opposed to any exploration or mining."

The Greytown Gazette will keep readers informed of the date, time and venue of the next meeting following a request to the SLR Environmental personnel to advertise its meetings in community papers rather than as previously, only in a Durban morning paper.

At the time of going to press SLR Environmental consultants had not contacted Umvoti Municipality­ to arrange another date and venue.

Although the meeting did not take place it was made very clear that the message was without doubt "frack off" and was under no circumstances “on”.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.