Media statement

To: All media

Issued by: Masifundise Development Trust

Date: 1 March 2022

Subject:  Searcher Seismic loses bid to appeal interdict halting seismic blasting in the West Coast

Today, in a momentous victory for small-scale fishing communities, the Western Cape High Court has ruled against seismic blasting in the West Coast. Judge Thulare has dismissed Searcher Seismic’s bid to appeal the interdict blocking them from carrying out oil and gas exploration in the West Coast.

This win comes after the Western Cape High Court granted an interim interdict on 7 February 2022 against Searcher Seismic, halting their planned seismic blasting off the West Coast from Cape Town to Namibia. 

On 24 February 2022 West Coast fishing communities returned to the Western Cape High Court to make the substance of the arguments presented by the Legal Resource Centre.

Today, in delivering his judgement, Judge Thulare highlighted that the rights and livelihoods of small-scale fishing communities were not taken into consideration by Searcher. He emphasized that all were equal before the law and Searcher’s failure to consult communities was a violation of their rights.

 “As it stands the survey will be at the expense of the livelihoods of impoverished communities of small-scale fishers which Searcher deliberately marginalized. Climate change had changed the ability to catch fish and the survey will further impact the ability to catch fish and small-scale fishing will collapse,” said Judge Thulare handing down his judgement.

“We are delighted with this verdict. The rule of law has once again come to the defense of small-scale fishers. The judgement today is another confirmation of the recognition of livelihood, food and access rights of fishing communities. The courts made it clear these rights must be preserved and protected,” said Naseegh Jaffer, Director at Masifundise.

END

For further enquiries contact:

Carmen Mannarino- Programme Manager

carmen@masifundise.org.za

071 283 3179

Sibongiseni Gwebani- Media and Communication officer

sibongiseni@masifundise.org.za

082 382 9259