Picket at fracking meet

2015-11-06 09:56
There was toyi-toyiing and a picket outside the Greytown Lodge, the venue where a public consultation meeting was expected to be held to discuss the exploration of oil and gas.

There was toyi-toyiing and a picket outside the Greytown Lodge, the venue where a public consultation meeting was expected to be held to discuss the exploration of oil and gas. (Ian Carbutt)

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

Pietermaritzburg - A company seeking to explore a vast swathe of the province for potential oil and gas reserves had to cancel its Greytown meeting because the venue was too small.

Approximately 250 people arrived at the Greytown Lodge, which only had capacity for about a quarter of the crowd, forcing Rhino Oil and Gas Exploration South Africa to cancel the meeting over safety concerns.

There has been mounting concern that the exploration will lead to hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, which is a largely vilified form of gas extraction.

Environmental consultant Matthew Hemming, acting on behalf of Rhino, said they would need to find an alternative date and venue and readvertise the community engagement session.

“[The venues for] two meetings we have held this week have been inadequate. We did try to initially book the Town Hall but we were told it was booked. We must make sure our next venue is over-sized,” said Hemming.

Speaking after the meeting he said the reception they have received at the seven previous meetings has objection to the proposed future project. “This process involves multiple steps, however [the public] are objecting and [trying to] shut the door as early as possible,” said Hemming.

He said only at Taylor’s Halt did they have a poor attendance.

Rhino COO Phillip Steyn said he understands the emotion but while he understands that objectors believe in what they are doing, he believes in what he is doing.

“It is unfortunate we couldn’t meet today but we will make sure we find an adequate venue,” said Steyn.

Newly appointed president of the provincial agricultural union Kwanalu Andy Buchan said he was “disappointed” that the meeting didn’t go ahead.

“This is the single 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,” said Buchan.

He said the union held a “special meeting” recently calling in leaders from throughout the province to discuss the potential effects of fracking.

“There is a meeting [today] in Tugela Ferry. We have notified the local amakhosi in the region who are equally concerned,” said Buchan.

The hall was packed with farmers, business owners, labourers, pensioners and the youth including a contingent from Hermannsburg School.

Rhino, a Texas-owned company with its corporate offices in the tax haven of the British Virgin Islands, has applied to the Petroleum Agency of South Africa to explore 1,5 million hectares, including 10 000 farms, near Pietermaritzburg, Ladysmith and Nkandla, looking for natural gas deposits in the main, and minerals. But in order for the company to proceed, it needs to present the agency with an environmental impact assessment which includes public consultation.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  fracking

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.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

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

Hello 

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.

Settings

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.