Agri SA is ecstatic about the decision by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in favour of Agri Eastern Cape and other stakeholders, that no fracking shall be allowed for the time being.

You can read more about the shale gas court proceedings that were launched in the Pretoria High Court against the granting of environmental authorisation and exploration rights for shale gas to Rhino Oil & Gas on 16 April 2019, here.

The SCA found that the current regulations regarding shale gas development and exploration should be set aside, because the minister of Mineral Resources had no power to draft these regulations. Only the minister of Environmental Affairs is responsible for these regulations and associated procedures.

A victory for SA agriculture

“This ruling will have an immediate impact on shale gas development across South Africa and is a huge victory for agriculture,” says Janse Rabie, Agri SA policy head of natural resources. “The question over the competency of the minister of Mineral Resources to make regulations on shale gas, created uncertainty regarding the management of water availability and pollution. This uncertainty has been the motivation for Agri SA to oppose the government’s appetite for shale gas development.”

The minister of mineral resources appealed against an earlier decision in the Eastern Cape High Court where Agri Eastern Cape president, Doug Stern successfully litigated that the existing regulations be set aside.

“Reckless fracking directly threatens agriculture, food security and the environment,” says Stern. “We believe this victory is a victory for every South African.”

The critical importance of clean water

“The victory shows that no regulation or policy is set in stone,” says Omri van Zyl, Agri SA executive director. Our member, Agri Eastern Cape’s pro-active action protected the interests of agriculture across South Africa.” In Agri SA’s Centre of Excellence: Natural Resources we are working non-stop to protect the interests of agriculture. We will engage with the minister of environmental affairs, forestry and fisheries to ensure that the regulations will take into account the critical importance of water for agriculture and food security. – Press release, Agri SA