Coast KZN

06 Nov 2019

Choose oceans, not oil – say ‘no’ to drilling

(South Coast Herald) Picture: Activists gather in Durban to protest against oil and gas exploration off the coast of KZN.

COMMUNITY activists recently gathered at the Durban beachfront to voice their objections to offshore oil and gas drilling. At the poorly-attended meeting, the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) announced that it had filed an appeal against the decision by the Department of Mineral Resources to grant environmental authorisation to Eni and Sasol to conduct oil and gas exploration along the coastline of KwaZulu-Natal.

People have been protesting against the exploration for some some time, yet all the objections have seemingly either been rejected or ignored. According to Scottburgh resident and community activist Jeff White, there were sometimes no meaningful explanations given for these rejections. Oil and gas exploration can cause a considerable amount of environmental damage.

“Every environment for exploration is different. The coastline of KZN has rugged relief and complex topography which hosts some of the fastest moving water currents in the world,” he explained.

“The drilling operation will occur well offshore and I feel the entire operation has not been properly considered or planned. Neither has the local population been adequately consulted.

“The potential for disaster is immense and any oil spill would be almost impossible to contain, and it could be reflected in the waters off Cape Town before Eni has moved to mitigate any spill. And there is no way of knowing if any find will be economically viable.

“Bearing in mind that new energy sources are being developed all the time, and that an oil field would take considerable time to develop, it is possible that all this development could be in vain, except of course for the real dangers that accompany this work.”

Natural disasters would also be a concern if drilling were to be approved, Mr White said.

“One can only imagine the amount of damage that would occur if we were to experience a full -on earthquake or hurricane which affected the drill site and could potentially cause a massive oil spill that could even wipe out the fish population,” he cautioned.

This in turn would affect those who rely on fishing to feed their families or as a source of income. Activists believe that oil and gas drilling will affect everyone, irrespective of age or social standing, and would like more people to be aware of the dangers.

To find out more about this battle or to show your support in the fight against oil and gas exploration on the KZN coastline, contact