Mixed reaction to Karoo fracking

2012-09-07 17:04

Cape Town - There has been mixed reaction to Cabinet's decision, announced on Friday, to lift a moratorium on applications to explore for shale gas in the Karoo.

While AfriForum and the Freedom Front Plus both, in separate statements, condemned it, the Democratic Alliance suggested government proceed cautiously on the matter.

"The DA maintains that we have to proceed cautiously on this issue as the potential benefits in terms of job creation, cheaper energy and increased government revenue needs to be constantly weighed against the potential threats," DA MP James Lorimer said in a statement.

These included threats to the country's agriculture sector, water resources and "the environmental integrity of the Karoo".

He said evidence from other countries where fracking took place "persuades us that it is possible to harvest gas through hydraulic fracturing with low adverse impacts, provided that stringent conditions are put in place".


There were examples across the globe where responsible fracking had taken place.

"The DA believes that it is vital that if fracking is to go ahead, then it must be done according to a set of best-practice guidelines based on lessons learnt from around the world," Lorimer said.

AfriForum said it was shocked by Cabinet's decision, and warned it might have "catastrophic" results.

"South Africa is a water-scarce country. It is clear from across the world that fracking destroys ecosystems and, especially, pollutes water," said the organisation's environmental affairs head, Marius Kleynhans.

The Karoo was an environmentally sensitive region.

"This area is a very sensitive, semi-desert environment, which will not return to its natural state after such an impact. No matter what precautions are taken, one slip-up or shortcut, and the environment will be contaminated beyond repair," he said.

AfriForum would take action against the decision through an anti-fracking campaign.


The FF Plus said it noted the Cabinet decision with disapproval.

"The party is of the opinion that there are many examples that serve as sufficient proof that fracking is dangerous to the environment. The ANC government did not at all indicate how fracking can be done responsibly," FF Plus MP Anton Alberts said.

Earlier, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Minister Collins Chabane told a post-Cabinet media briefing that the decision was based on recommendations contained in the report on shale gas exploration prepared by the technical task team that was appointed in 2011.

This was after the department imposed a moratorium on applications for exploration for shale gas - using the fracking method - in the Karoo, amid concerns of possible environmental impact.

"Cabinet endorsed recommendations of the report on the lifting of the afore-stated moratorium," Chabane said.

The report would be released by Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu "at the appropriate time".

  • stirrer.stirrer - 2012-09-07 17:11

    We are so-o-o-o-o-o-o fracked...

      ray.priestley.79 - 2012-09-07 18:26

      How do people with an IQ below room temperature make a judgement call on this? In fact,if they had more brains,they would be half-wits!!

  • marius.coetzee.77 - 2012-09-07 17:21

    I wonder who got paid what by whom to let this one slide through. None of the ones in charge have probably even visited the beautiful splendid karoo! Instead they chicken out at our expense and probably fly over it ('scuse the pun). Please do not destroy OUR KAROO!!!!

  • judith.taylor.56 - 2012-09-07 17:29

    We are on the way to genocide by water pollution and water scarcity. This government does not understand that we simply do NOT have the water to meet the needs of all the polluting projects they are approving, never mind being able to deliver water to communities

  • J.Stephen.Whiteley - 2012-09-07 17:35

    The real danger is the Government knows nothing about it, will use the Green issue to collect bribes, and more bribes, then back-track, leaving the usual mess.

  • tim.comyn1 - 2012-09-07 17:56

    They say that it is possible to frac with low adverse side effects as long as stringent coditions are put in place,HELLLLLLOOOOOO doesn't matter as long as these conditions are monitored what is the use. Quite honestly in what world does anybody believe there is going to be any sort of control. Goodbye Karroo

  • frankflower - 2012-09-07 18:02

    My father was murdered on our farm three years ago, if an energy company came to me with the proposition to frack, I wouldn't think twice. Can't get rid of this property unless we sell it to people who might get a government grant and then it would be for a fraction of what its worth...

      frankflower - 2012-09-07 18:27

      And if you were in my position, I'm sure you would think twice before giving me a thumbs down...

      ray.priestley.79 - 2012-09-07 18:29

      Frank,my condolences to you.I hope you can get over this.The only difference between your father's murderers and the ANC cadres is that the latter don't need to kill people to get what they want.I cry for you.

      888facebuuk888suck888 - 2012-09-07 21:26

      Helloo! you can get grants to put up solar farms and wind turbines, just go and ask your local Councillor to find them... the USA has had alternative energy grants for decades

  • lloyd.wyk - 2012-09-07 19:27

    "provided that stringent conditions are put in place..." WTF!!? Our government cant even maintain basic services as it is. Who is going to monitor and enforce control? (As if the mining industry isn't doing enough/irreparable damage to our environment, as it is) We cant drink money and will the remuneration ever reach the "people" anyway... It's sad and sickening how westernization, greed and our leaders are stealing our children's futures

  • 888facebuuk888suck888 - 2012-09-07 21:22

    There is no mixed reaction, the method that is fracking, is filthy. I work in the gas industry, this method will foul up the water and the land, period. One only has to read the reports coming from areas already fracked... there are no happy endings. We cannot allow fracking anywhere. Shell has money to lobby government, we the people must boycott Shell and Sasol until fracking is illegal.

  • 888facebuuk888suck888 - 2012-09-07 21:31

    And fracking does not produce new jobs, it is a specialized and small industry with minimal unskilled labour within a crew. Whereas solar farms in the karoo will provide many 1000's of jobs, it will provide shade on the ground, condensation can collect and nurseries can happen. So much sunshine but shell and Sasol have no long term interest in South Africans. sad

      Prince.drew2 - 2012-09-19 11:30

      naa dnt be stupid u aint gona c the future unless u there so stop acting lyk a fool and its going to create jobs

  • ettienne.gouws.3 - 2012-09-07 22:56

    If Shell and Sasol were really serious about 'clean' energy, they would do the following: Take the money that would have been spent on the development of fracking and provide every farmer in this country with land of more than 1000 ha with photo-voltaic panels which collect energy from the sun and let this electricity flow back into the 'grid'. Most farmers now have ESCOM power and this would be an easy excercise. In fact, if every Northern slope on every farm has a series of these panels, I believe that we will have more energy than we need. If anyone from Shell or Sasol reads this, please see if this is possible.

  • carla.l.mclachlan - 2012-09-08 01:09

    Fracking is plain and simply Evil!

  • LandyNut - 2012-09-09 08:14

    Took a while but looks like enough money was paid to the "right" people and the you get what you want.

  • Prince.drew2 - 2012-09-19 11:27

    well we all no the goverment no and the country with citizen we are all looking for opportunity to make living and this we all no deep down our souls can change the lives of many i say to u out there whether u lv the idea of fracking or not the goverment is going ahead with it as they wana remove the burden on their neckz of creating jobs so its a way foward to all of us

  • simonstad.simon - 2012-11-05 23:43

    Been visiting the Karoo for many years - you S Africans have something beautiful to cherish and worth fighting for. Your 'government'mustn't be allowed destroy millions of years of ecosystem and the livelihoods of all the workers on Karoo farms.

  • - 2012-12-05 15:23

    It is so sad that our gov the one that most of our people voted for allow this to happen in our beautiful Karoo

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