Greenpeace Africa on Friday said there was still a long process ahead after the Makhanda High Court in the Eastern Cape dismissed an interdict application to stop Shell from carrying out its exploration for gas and oil along the Wild Coast.
Earlier, Judge Avinash Govindjee dismissed the urgent application for an interdict to stop Shell from beginning its seismic survey.
Those opposing Shell’s survey had argued that for five months, seismic blasts would fire every 10 seconds through 6 011km² of the ocean surface.
They claimed the extremely loud shock wave emissions penetrate through 3km of water and 40km into the Earth’s crust below the seabed and would disturb marine life on the Wild Coast.
Commenting on the court ruling, Happy Khambule, Greenpeace Africa’s senior climate and energy manager, said: “Just a few hours ago, the South African court made the decision to allow Shell’s seismic blasting in the Wild Coast.
“We have been awaiting this decision with extreme anticipation since the hearing on Wednesday.
“It’s clear we still have a lot to do to ensure a renewable energy future where people and the planet are prioritised over profit and greed.
“There wouldn’t have been a better way to wrap up this year than to hear a strong message from the court that fossil fuels are dangerous and irresponsible to people and the environment.
“Despite that message not coming through today, it is clear that our voices matter. They make a difference, and we will not stop using them to call for a renewable energy future.
“A future that we continue to work hard to achieve and one we all deserve.”
Shell, which already has all permission from the relevant state authorities, had intended to start exploring for oil and gas in South Africa’s Wild Coast this week on Wednesday, 1 December.
Shell successfully argued that the urgent application to stop its seismic testing along the Wild Coast was nothing short of abusive because there had been some 325 similar surveys conducted around the world without any deaths or irreversible harm to marine life.
Khambule said, “to stop them, we have worked with partner organisations in public protest against the exploration”.
Greenpeace Africa, Border Deep Sea Angling Association, Kei Mouth Ski Boat Club, and Natural Justice joined hands when they applied to the court for an interdict to stop Shell’s exploration for gas and oil.
Thousands of people have signed petitions against the Shell seismic survey.
“There may be a long process ahead, but I am so inspired by the immense public outcry to stop Shell from destroying not only our ocean but to stop feeding a dying industry. We need renewable solutions, and we need these urgently,” said Khambule.