Media statement

To: All media

Date:  26 August 2022

Subject: Civil society organisations protest against DMRE and PASA engagement with fishing communities

On Friday 26 August 2022 Minister Gwede Mantashe of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) as well as the Petroleum Agency SA (PASA) will host a stakeholder engagement with various representatives of fishing communities on matters relating to upstream petroleum industry at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).

As a result of this engagement various civil society and fisher organisations held a symbolic protest outside the CTICC to express their opposition towards oil and gas extractive activities.

This engagement by Minister Mantashe is an attempt to pacify and weaken the clear message small-scale fishing communities having been sending out to DMRE and PASA against the pillaging of their coastal waters. Oil and gas development and fishing activities cannot co-exist. This attempt by the DMRE and PASA to make oil and gas exploration palatable to fishing communities is deeply concerning and deceptive. The aggressive movement towards fossil fuels and non-renewable energy will lead to the unconscionable loss of fisher livelihoods. South Africa’s advancement of the blue economy, undermines climate justice, the just energy transition, as well as the livelihoods and rights of small-scale fishing communities who rely on the ocean and ocean resources for food and income.

Fishing communities have fought for recognition and fishing rights for decades only to witness the sale of their natural resources for extractive profit. Small-scale fishing communities continue to advocate for sustainable development that will not lead to the degradation of the environment and threaten their livelihood activities.

This statement was endorsed and written in collaboration with the following organizations:

Masifundise Development Trust

The Green Connection

South Durban Community Environmental Alliance

SA Fishers Collective

Coastal Justice Network

KZN Subsistence Fisherfolks