Shell South Africa (SA) and Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe have suffered defeat in their legal battle over the seismic survey off the Wild Coast in Eastern Cape.
The Makhanda High Court on Thursday rejected Shell and Mantashe’s request to appeal a second ban who had temporarily halted the investigation.
in the last judgementJudge Gerald Bloem also rejects the request with costs.
Green connection has since applauded the ruling.
“Green Connection is pleased with the court’s ruling on the wild coast Shell case. Shell has applied for a leave of absence against the ban, which has been rejected. That means the seismic ban will remain in place and this is good news for wild coast coastal communities.”
“In the meantime, we are pleased that the West Coast seismic ban remains in effect and we are now going to look at the merits of the cases,” said Green Connection’s Liziwe Mcdaid. SABC on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Shell SA chairman Hloniphizwe Mtolo said the company would abide by the court’s decision.
“We are not happy. It is [disappointing that]the judgment has come out as it has come, but we will abide by it. At this stage, we are evaluating the judgment and making decisions on how to move forward,” he said.
Shell and minister had requested leave against Bloem’s ruling – issued on December 28 last year†
The ruling banned the oil and gas company from conducting seismic survey operations under Exploration Law 12/3/252 pending completion of Part B of the motion’s notice.
At the same time, the request for the determination of the exemption was postponed.
Part B of Shell’s affidavit details the nature of the seismic survey, allegations of damage against Shell and mitigation measures taken during the survey.
The first injunction was heard in Grahamstown Court in Makhanda on December 17 and was filed against the petroleum giant and Mantashe by Natural Justice, Greenpeace Africa, Border Deep Sea Angling Association and Kei Mouth Ski Boat Club.
Acting Judge Avinash Govindjee rejected the first ban with costsafter ruling, the applicants’ arguments were not sufficient to convince him that the planned 3D seismic survey should not take place.
Govindjee said at the time that the argument that marine life could be affected by the study was “speculative at best”, and that the balance of convenience favored Shell.
Shell and Mantashe were hit with a fresh urgent ban after the first dismissal, this time by the Amadiba Crisis Commission (ACC), Preserving the Wild Coast and the Dwesa-Cwebe Common Property Association.
At the December 17 hearing, Mantashe was described as: “ignorant and seriously offensive” for accusing communities living on the wild coast of involvement in “colonialism and apartheid of a special kind”.
Mantashe suggested in court documents that communities concerned about Shell’s seismic drilling should have exhausted all options, including an internal appeal, before taking legal action.
But lawyer Tembeka Ngcukaitobi SC, who represents concerned community organizations, said that even if residents took the case through an internal appeal, Mantashe clearly “had his colors nailed to the Shell mast”.