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2 Apr 2024

Natural Justice

S. Africa: NGOs take legal action against the Ministry of Mines for granting TotalEnergies authorisation for exploratory drilling

‘Legal Challenge Launched Against TotalEnergies’ Drilling Decision’ 25 March 2024

In a bid to defend our oceans and to ensure sustainable livelihoods for coastal communities, The Green Connection and Natural Justice have approached the High Court in the interests of protecting the coastal environment and the communities who rely on it for their livelihoods. Today, the organisations announce their joint legal challenge against the decision to grant TotalEnergies EP South Africa (TEEPSA) environmental authorisation for exploratory drilling in block 5/6/7, located off the coast between Cape Town and Cape Agulhas.

…The legal grounds for the review include government’s failure to assess the socio-economic impacts of a potential oil spill on local fisheries, while also ignoring the climate change impacts associated with oil or gas usage. The Green Connection and Natural Justice state that they are also concerned over the lack of proper evaluation of Oil Spill Blowout Contingency Plans. Furthermore, the organisations state that government failed to adequately consider the requirements of the Integrated Coastal Management Act (ICMA) and ignored the impacts of the drilling activities extending to Namibia and international waters.

…“Many South Africans may not realise that the law defines our coast as “public property” which is owned by citizens and held in trust by the State. This means that decisions taken by Ministers regarding the management of our oceans, must take into consideration the need to conserve and protect the coast for the benefit of the country’s citizens. The potential negative ecological consequences of the proposed exploratory drilling, and the resulting impacts on coastal communities, is why we are compelled to act. Increasing investment in oil and gas projects threatens our climate and threatens the resilience of communities all over the world to adapt to that changing climate,” adds Melissa Groenink-Groves.