Mining minister Susan Shabangu said the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the Karoo would be extended by six months to allow her department to “engage” the public on the issue. If the words of a community spokesperson are anything to go by, this debate is going to get quite nasty. By SIPHO HLONGWANE.
Speaking at a breakfast at the Cape Town Press Club on Wednesday, Shabangu said the fracking ban would be gazetted soon. The government investigating team has already started to make reports, but apparently some of them were sent back for not being very clear.
She said she expected the final report to be before cabinet by September.
The department of minerals and energy announced a moratorium on fracking licenses (which would have been granted to energy companies for prospecting purposes) in April after the anti-fracking lobby convinced cabinet there were too many unknowns for the licensing process to go ahead.
The Karoo Shale Gas Community Forum, which represents communities in the areas designated for fracking, hit back viciously at the opponents of the controversial shale gas mining method. “If you still have the demonstrations that you have had, I will tell you – not being racist – that they’re purely white, rented crowds, that come and toyi-toyi in front of Parliament,” Vuyisa Jantjies said. “We are speaking on behalf of the people in the Karoo who we cannot even transport to come and toyi-toyi in front of your Parliament.”
We’re looking forward to the exchanges between the pro- and anti-fracking lobbies when the mining department takes the debate to the public. DM