The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Wednesday weighed in on the impending Shell seismic survey that will involve blasting on the Wild Coast, demanding that the environment minister “act now” to protect the fragile marine environment.
Earlier the Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment (DFFE) said the decision on the seismic survey was not there’s to make.
“The minister of minerals resources and energy is the minister responsible for the administration of the MPRDA, the minister responsible for environmental affairs is, therefore, not mandated to consider the application or to make a decision on the authorisation of the seismic survey,” explained the DFFE.
But the DA insisted that Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment Minister Barbara Creecy “must act now to halt seismic blasting along Wild Coast”.
Dave Bryant the DA Shadow DFFE provincial minister said his party visited the Cape Town Harbour this week to see the scale of the seismic blasting ship, Amazon Warrior, which is due to begin operations along the Wild Coast from next month.
“Yesterday I wrote to the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Barbara Creecy to again urge her to intervene,” said Bryant.
“Two weeks ago I called on the minister to lend her support to calls to halt the blasting and allow for an updated round of environmental public participation as the last public participation took place in 2014.
“There has unfortunately been no indication yet that the government has any intention of intervening to protect the fragile Wild Coast marine environment.”
Bryant said the blasting, which is due to be carried out by Shell, was approved by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, in consultation with the DFFE.
It will consist of five months of powerful deep water blasting all the way from Morgan’s Bay to Port St Johns.
“The blasting could have a devastating impact on local marine life, including the numerous whale species that frequent the area. It is likely that some of these whales will be calving during this period,” said Bryant.
“The DA remains gravely concerned about the proposed blasting and will be working with partners across the country, including civil society and residents, in the coming week to highlight the potential environmental devastation that could be wrought on our oceans if the blasting goes ahead.”
Oceans Not Oil – led by founder Janet Solomon – which shares the same concerns as the DA is running a petition to stop Shell’s planned seismic survey in search of oil or gas deposits from Morgan Bay to Port St Johns.
The Oceans Not Oil petition opposing the exploration has gained traction and had by last week amassed more than 84 000 signatures.
Oceans Not Oil is calling for a moratorium on all offshore oil and gas development to protect marine wildlife and environmental sustainability.