Shell, environmental groups set for long haul in South Africa Wild Coast dispute

By David Whitehouse
Posted on Friday, 3 June 2022 09:31

REUTERS/Rick Wilking.

A new round of court hearings this week over plans by Royal Dutch Shell to carry out seismic blasting along South Africa’s Wild Coast leave a rapid resolution of the dispute looking remote.

The hearings at the Gqeberha High Court followed an interim edict against Shell’s proposals granted by the Grahamstown High Court in December 2021. The new hearings concerned the granting of Shell’s exploration right by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy in 2014. A decision is expected within three months.

The most important aspect of the legal challenge is the opportunity to test statutes and legislation, Sinegugu Zukulu, a campaigner with the Sustaining the Wild Coast (SWC) group told an online briefing. A strong case by environmentalists will open the possibility of appeal if the court rules against them, he said, adding that he expects Shell to appeal if they lose the case. “We need to be prepared for a long battle.”