If hydro fracturing was to take place in perfect circumstances, it would already be a huge risk. In South Africa, with its scarce water resources and a government which in the process apparently places money above conservation, it could hold disastrous consequences, Adv. Anton Alberts, the Freedom Front Plus’ parliamentary spokesperson on mineral resources says.
The way was cleared yesterday (Thursday 10 October) for the exploration of shale gas, when Ms. Susan Shabangu, the minister of mineral resources, published the technical regulations for the exploration of, amongst others, shale gas in the Karoo and in other areas in the country.
“The FF Plus will see to it that the voices of farmers and the residents of the area are heard. The Khoisan people have already talked to the FF Plus and have indicated that they are strongly opposed to it. We are also keeping our options open to support legal actions which could halt the process.
“We have, for a long time already, been warning that hydro fracturing could be equated to the damage which a nuclear explosion could cause. It is irreparable.
“At this stage, there is talk of nearly 600 000 ha in the Karoo which will be sacrificed for this purpose. It will produce gas for approximately 20 years. But what happens thereafter? Will the money taps just be shut off after twenty years? Or will the government just allow further exploration?
“The government says it wants a 20% free hold share in all hydro fracturing industries and that it could also possibly increase its interest to 50%. At present we are looking at an amount of more than R90 billion for the state.
“This process has once again been roughly bulldozed through that one is inevitably forced to draw parallels with the multi-billion rand arms deal and the public will not be blamed if serious concern is raised about the transparency of the process.
“Even at this stage it is shameful that the state has acknowledged that it will be taking 20% from every license issued. It proves that the government is involved in this for its own interests and that it is not about the interests of South Africa and its residents.
“The government should rather focus on developing the country’s existing mineral resources and fully utilise it. Despite the country’s mineral wealth, the government has succeeded in managing the industry so poorly that South Africa does not draw a lot of investments to develop it,” Adv. Alberts says.
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