The acting minister of Environmental Affairs, Derek Hanekom earlier today dismissed the appeals by 39 individuals and organisations, including Agri SA, against environmental authorisations which were granted by the Department of Mineral Resources to Rhino Oil & Gas in connection with oil and gas exploration.
The exploration rights cover an area of approximately 2,4 million hectares ranging from North West, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape provinces. It is feared that the applications may lead to large-scale shale gas developments in South Africa, including by means of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”.
Agri SA appealed the granting of environmental authorisation to Rhino Oil & Gas due to the prevailing uncertainty regarding the availability and possible pollution of water, as well as air and soil pollution which is associated with oil and gas developments.
The reasons given by the minister for reaching his decision are currently being considered. Agri SA is, however, of the view that given an earlier decision in the Eastern Cape High Court, this matter may have to be reviewed. – Press release