Nationwide Actions Erupt Against Oil and Gas Drilling Off South African Coastlines

On December 9, people across the country will unite in local actions against oil and gas drilling off the South African coastlines. Multinational corporations, including Shell, Qatar, Total Energies and contractors such as CGG and Searcher, are amongst the focal points of the latest round of public outrage.

A map of the offshore oil and gas exploration in South Africa. Source: Green Connection


Recent authorisations which have catalysed action are the:
● Recent authorisation by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) for
UK-based CGG to conduct a speculative 3D seismic survey in the Algoa/Outeniqua Basin off
the Southeast Coast of South Africa (appeals open to DFFE before 13th December 2023)
● Recent decision by the Minister of DFFE to reject an environmental appeal off the West
Coast, meaning seismic surveys by Searcher are planned to start after 1 January 2024 unless
it is taken to court.
● Recent decision by the Minister of DFFE to reject the environmental appeal against oil and
gas exploration in blocks 567 (from Gansbaai on the South Coast to Doring Baai on the West
Coast). This means Total Energies can start drilling anytime from now unless it is taken to
court.


Authorisation Amid Controversy:
The local actions are taking place on the same day as the global day for climate justice in line with
COP28 in which the global climate justice movement is coming together to continue to advocate for a
fast and fair phase out of fossil fuels. The international conference which is meant to be a place for
making equitable progress on climate change and energy transitions, has been steeped in
controversy and disappointment while the COP28 president, Sultan Al Jaber, has been accused of
abusing his position to try to sign oil deals.


Communities, environmental activists, civil society organisations, and legal experts have expressed
concern over the lack of public consultation and proper processes being followed around the
exploration authorisations. Of particular concern is the impact that these surveys will have on the
livelihoods of small scale fishing communities and those in the tourism sector, marine life such as
turtles, fish, whales and plankton, as well as local coastal economies which are founded on healthy
marine environments.

Contradiction with International Recommendations
The International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
reports have underscored the need for urgent action to reduce fossil fuel use over the next 20 years
and have stated that no oil, gas or coal projects can come online if we are to limit catastrophic global
warming and climate change. South Africa’s Presidential Climate Commission’s (PCC) electricity
recommendations have also aligned with the urgency of transitioning to renewable energy swiftly and
justly.


Call to Action:
As fishing communities, civil society, environmentalists, and concerned people unite nationwide on
December 9 to voice opposition to the potentially devastating consequences of these proposed oil
and gas activities, they are calling on people to join them in actions against oil and gas exploration off
the South African coast.


Some of the groups and organisations organising actions include: Plettenberg Bay Community
Environment Forum, Green Connection, Oceans Not Oil, Algoa Bay Ocean Stewards, Extinction
Rebellion, Greenpeace Africa, Save the Wild Coast, African Climate Alliance, Eastern Cape
Environmental Network, Masifundise, Coastal Links South Africa, Eden to Addo Corridor Initiative,
Nature’s Valley Trust, Tsitsikamma Fishers Forum, WESSA Algoa Bay & Eden Branches, 7784
Performers Youth Development, Robberg Coastal Corridor Protected Environment, The Green Net,
Helderberg Ocean Awareness Movement, Project 90 by 2030, Sustaining the Wild Coast NPC, SAFC

  • South African Fishers Collective, One Ocean Hub, CJN – Climate Justice Network, SAFCEI –
    Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute, Fossil Free SA
    For spokespeople and interviews, please contact the respective location contacts. For
    more information and links to various whatsapp groups, head to this link. For a table
    of the full Table of Active Exploration and Production Applications and Cases as of 6
    Dec 2023, head to this link.
  • Please see the document below for the LIST OF PROTEST ACTIONS ON 9 DECEMBER 2023.

Thank you!

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