The appeals against the Rhino Oil & Gas authorisation by Dept Environmental Affairs (DEA) were dismissed last week.

Thanks to everyone those who contributed their comments and concerns, as it now forms part of the body of evidence and action.

However, this means that Rhino is all excited about getting going and has notified us of ANOTHER application to explore for petroleum and gas over a swathe of KZN and the Free State. Public Meetings listed below. Download the list of farms affected. 

It also means that their exploration activities will begin soon over most of KZN, Free State, North West, Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape (Matatiele) .

Grey areas are the new Applications

They say they will only conduct aerial surveys and desk top studies.  Remember there are restrictions in terms of flight height, especially over protected areas.  Minerals included in the application are oil, gas, condensate, coal bed methane, helium and biogenic gas. The ER346 application area is located roughly between the towns of Mooi River and Estcourt in the south-east, Memel in the north-east, Clarens in the south-west and Lindley in the far west.

What to do?

Spread the word to ensure everyone you know is aware and informed – share content from Frack Free SA Facebook,  website and e-mails.  Please share any new information you may find with FFSA –  We all need to have our eyes and ears open.

Register as an Interested and Affected Party (IAP) no mattter where you live as this will affect us all. Download this simple form, fill it in and email to .

Please include your municipal ward councillors and officials – they are essential in the fight against authorising fracking. The municipality has to rezone the affected properties in terms of the Spatial Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA) from, for example – agriculture to mining.  This is the last step, so we need to make sure all municipalities (local and district) know the FULL story about fracking and will make the right decision.

Refresher on Useful Info.  Fracking will:

  • Create very few jobs – most will be specialised (skills usually not available locally) and much of it can be done remotely by computer;
  • Use a lot of water – they need large volumes of water to release the gas from the coal bed;
  • Dewater the area first (for coal bed methane, but not for shale gas) – this means that the water resources will be affected significantly and permanently;
  • Add hazardous chemicals to the water used to frack and this will generate huge volumes of wastewater, which will pollute ground- and surface-water;
  • Produce toxic waste which will need to be continuously disposed of at a hazardous landfill;
  • Emit air pollutants which will harm people and the environment, including potent greenhouse gases which drive Climate Change;
  • Need to transport everything by many, many trucks causing traffic problems and deterioration in road surfaces requiring an increased municipal budget for control and maintenance;
  • Generate noise from the equipment used and the trucks moving raw materials, products and wastes in and out;
  • Create security problems from teams of unknown people having access to the land you use/own;
  • Clear vegetation for access to the extraction areas – with impacts on grazing, farming and biodiversity and enabling infestation by invasive alien plant species;
  • Create boom and bust conditions for the area – remember Marikana and how the small municipality became overwhelmed by the changes and the responsibilities extraction brought;
  • Cause earth tremors and even earthquakes – these will affect the integrity of any buildings and dams in the area.

How do we know? 

Fracking impacts are well documented where it is being done in developed countries, including USA, UK and Australia.  Fenceline communities in these areas have documented the impacts on their lives and livelihoods and regret the day they allowed fracking to happen.

Current and proposed legal challenges:

  • The DEA Minister, in dismissing the Appeals against the authorisation of the Rhino Oil & Gas applications, did not deal with the major issues raised in the Appeals and the Minister’s decision may be taken on review in the High Court.
  • The Montuoane Appeal was also dismissed, and an application may also be taken for a Review to the High Court. Similar issues were raised so if it is successfully pursued it will have an impact on the Rhino applications too.
  • In an unusual turn of events in the administrative process relating to the Applications of Shell, Bundu and Falcon in the Karoo, the Minister initiated a further consultation process. No Exploration Rights or Environmental Authorities have since been issued in that process. In the event that these Applications are granted, an Appeal will be filed and/or pursue the matter in the High Court on Review.
  • The Supreme Court of Appeal is still to allocate a date for the Hearing of the Appeal against the Judgment obtained relating to the Fracking Regulations initiated by the DMR Minister. The delay has been occasioned by the consolidation of the Afri-Forum/TKAG Appeal with the original appellants.

Minerals & Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) and National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations Section 50 of MPRDA gives the Minister the power to investigate the occurrence, nature and extent of mineral resources.  This is a description of exploration and the concerning bit is when it is read with NEMA’s EIA Regulation Listing Notice #2, which relates to mining activities requiring EIA.  Section 50 of the MPRDA does NOT trigger the requirement for an EIA process. Rhino Oil & Gas et al are a little miffed, as the Minister does not have to deal with a costly EIA or go through any public participation process.

Minister Mantashe has recently issued (in the relevant provincial gazettes) a very long list of farms across all the provinces in which he plans to investigate “the occurrence, nature and extent of mineral resources”.  Section 50 of the MPRDA requires the minister to agree compensation with land owners (not occupiers!) and if this goes hand-in-hand with expropriation without compensation, then there may not be a need to pay up at all!

Civil society cannot rely on litigation to stop fracking (we are very grateful to those who have initiated these cases!), so we need to do our bit to ensure there is a groundswell of antagonism and activism against any fracking applications.  We also cannot rely on the regulators to do the right thing by not authorising any new applications which will continue to drive Climate Change.  We need to take action locally and support those initiatives that work regionally and internationally towards a fossil free future for everyone and those who come after us.

Please share information widely and attend the meetings for this new round of applications. Let’s make sure that Rhino Oil & Gas get the same sort of reception as they did the last time.  Remember these days filled with passion and fury?

We believe that Philip Steyn will be at the public meetings.

Monday 3 Dec 15h00 Blue Haze Country Lodge, Estcourt

Tuesday 4 Dec 10h00 Bergville Farmers Association Hall

Tuesday 4 Dec 15h00 La La Nathi Country Guest House, Harrismith

Wednesday 5 Dec 15h00 Memel Farmers Association Hall

Thursday 6 Dec 15h00 Martie Lotz Hall, Clarens

Friday 7 Dec 10h00 Library Hall, Lindley

Download the list of farms affected by this application.

Contact our old friend Matthew Hemming for all the information on this application:

Towards a FrackFreeFuture for all!

Rhino on the Rampage

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