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‘Anti-development movements cannot kill our enthusiasm’ says Mantashe, vowing to challenge court losses

‘Anti-development movements cannot kill our enthusiasm’ says Mantashe, vowing to challenge court losses
Extinction Rebellion activists protest outside the Cape Town International Convention Centre where Africa Oil Week is being held (Photo: Ethan van Diemen)

In a media briefing on Tuesday, the minister of mineral resources and energy, Gwede Mantashe, said that despite its legal losses, his department would continue to fight to allow oil and gas exploration to take place on the Wild Coast. He also warned against Africa being used as a ‘conduit for the ideas’ of the developed world.

‘The energy debate is very ideological; very, very ideological,” said the minister of mineral resources and energy, Gwede Mantashe, on Tuesday.

He was answering questions put to him by journalists on the sidelines of the Africa Oil Week and Green Energy Africa Summit in Cape Town.  

While energy ministers and fossil fuel company executives from across Africa and beyond urged the continent to make use of its abundant resources and not be “dictated to” by the developed world, a small group of Extinction Rebellion activists lay on the street outside the convention centre, covered in fake blood, lending some credence to Mantashe’s words.

Asked how his department was processing a recent series of legal setbacks in the Eastern Cape, the minister said: “If there are movements that are anti-development … it cannot kill our enthusiasm. So our commitment remains.” 

development mantashe

Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe. (Photo: Ethan van Diemen)

Our Burning Planet reported that on 20 September, Impact Africa lodged an application for leave to appeal against the Makhanda High Court ruling that set aside oil and gas exploration rights off the Wild Coast. Shell and Mantashe lodged similar applications on 22 September.

The Wild Coast communities and environmental NGOs that recently won the landmark judgment will return to court to defend the environment once again. 

Our Burning Planet’s report explained that in their application, Shell, Impact Africa and Mantashe were seeking leave to appeal on various grounds, including that the public had been properly notified of the decision to grant the exploration rights and that the court should not have allowed the decision to be challenged so long after it was made.  

They also argue that the court was wrong to deal with exploration as a step in a single process that culminates in the production and combustion of oil and gas, and was incorrect in applying the precautionary principle to the expert evidence on the harms of seismic surveys. 

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Greenpeace Africa climate and energy campaigner Thandile Chinyavanhu, in a statement at the time, said: “Greenpeace Africa is disappointed that Minister Mantashe has made his bias clear: he is on the side of profit, not people. Seismic blasting off the Wild Coast will only destroy the lives and livelihoods of the people who live there.

“It is delusional to think that fossil fuels will save unemployed South Africans, solve the energy crisis, or provide decent employment for the people of South Africa.

“In reality, extracting more fossil fuels will only drive us deeper into the climate crisis. A just transition to renewable energy is the best and most immediate solution to South Africa’s problems. We will continue to resist the lies peddled by fossil fuel companies, in and out of the courts.”

Mantashe said on Tuesday that whatever the outcome, they would fight until the end.  

“Any case we lost in Grahamstown [the Eastern Cape High Court], will end up in the Constitutional Court. We cannot give up and die in poverty. Hunger is killing more people than anything else … we have a responsibility to develop the country.” DM/OBP

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • William Kelly says:

    Well if Gwede is behind it then it’s immediately a corrupted and bad idea. Donate to GreenPeace!
    Do yourself a favour Shell, if you want credibility ask government to stay out of it…

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