For immediate release

17 May 2024

On Friday, 17 May 2024 Masifundise will be at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein
supporting Eastern Cape Coastal Links small-scale fishers who are applicants in the Shell
case. Wild coast communities and supporting organisations will stand with the legal
representatives who are set to defend the 2022 High Court judgement that set aside Shell’s
exploration rights for oil and gas on the Wild Coast.

This appeal case follows applications filed by Shell, Impact Africa, and the Minister of Mineral
Resources and Energy (DMRE) in September 2022, seeking to overturn the judgement.

In December 2021, Shell announced plans to commence a seismic survey to search for oil and
gas deposits from Morgan Bay to Port St. Johns. This announcement triggered a major outcry
from small-scale fishing communities along South Africa’s coastline. These communities
joined a mass mobilisation effort, along with activists and environmental organizations, to
protest on beaches and challenge Shell’s oil and gas exploration activities.

In September 2022, the High Court in Makhanda ruled against Shell, stating that the
exploration rights for seismic surveys on the Wild Coast were granted unlawfully. The court
cited several key reasons for its decision, including Shell’s failure to conduct meaningful
consultations, the potential harm to marine and bird life, and the disregard for spiritual and
cultural rights of coastal communities. For small-scale fishers in the Eastern Cape, the impact of extractive development threatens their livelihood, which relies heavily on the natural resources of the sea.

Nstindiso Nongcavu, Chairperson of Coastal Links Eastern Cape from Port St. Johns in the
Eastern Cape and who is an applicant in the case, shares why this case is important to protect
coastal communities and their livelihoods, “I live in the Sicambeni village which is a coastal community. In my community fishing is a major part of our livelihoods and we stand against oil and gas exploration in the ocean as it will negatively impact us. Exploration or drilling for oil or gas would cause great disturbance
in the ocean and therefore, also to our cultural practices. We have a belief that our
forefathers’ spirit rests in the ocean, hence when there are rituals we ought to perform them
in the ocean as part of our tradition. We depend on the natural resources in the ocean for our
livelihoods. We catch fish to sell and to provide for our families”

“Oil & gas exploration would have a negative impact on us. We were never consulted about
this development. When we researched more about this, we learned about how the impact
of this development could destroy nature and the ocean. Minister Barbara never considered
our spiritual and cultural practices and how oil and gas exploration could affect this.” said
Jomo Kuselo, from Hobeni Village, Eastern Cape.

For further enquiries, contact:
Boyisile Mafikila – Project Officer, Eastern Cape
071 071 8167
Jordan Volmink – Media and Communication officer
079 145 5281



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