On 6 June, small-scale fishers and community members from Hondeklipbaai attended an Environmental Impact Management Services (EIMS) stakeholder engagement, together with Masifundise.

The engagement aimed to update communities on the proposed oil and gas exploration drilling to be conducted by Azinam (bought over by Eco Atlantic) in Block 2B, located along the coast South of Kleinzee through Hondeklip Bay, in Northern Cape.

The consultative process conducted by EIMS failed to provide the original Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) document in the local language of Afrikaans. Masifundise argued the importance of providing local communities with documents in their indigenous languages.

EIMS argued that the exploration right already existed, the environmental authorization had already been granted, and that the consultation process was not required by law, but an effort to engage with the community. Despite this EIMS committed to undertake a process in which the project would be workshopped with the community in Afrikaans to ensure full understanding.

This consultation allowed fishing communities to raise their concerns around oil and gas drilling on the coast. Small-scale fishers emphasized the need to protect their marine resources and livelihood activities.

“Extractive developments, such as oil and gas drilling, have negative impacts on marine life and therefore, directly impact the ability of small-scale fishers to fish and put food on the table,” said Jordan Volmink from Masifundise.

Eco Atlantic plans to begin drilling in September 2022 for a period of 3 weeks. This exploration will determine whether any oil exists, after which they will need to conduct another full EIA and workshop this with the communities.