Community gears up for battle against Sasol

17 May 2018 - 10:05 By Jeff Wicks
A file photo of a Sasol Gas plant.
A file photo of a Sasol Gas plant.
Image: Sunday Times

Environmental activists are set to lock horns with petrochemical giant Sasol and their partners in a meeting over proposed oil and gas exploration off the South African coast.

Sasol Africa and Eni‚ an Italian oil and Gas corporation‚ are collaborating in a project to explore for oil and gas along the KwaZulu-Natal coast‚ hoping to locate massive reserves beneath the seabed.

This project falls under the umbrella of the state’s Operation Phakisa‚ which aims to tap into the economic potential of South Africa’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

One of the many objectives of Operation Phakisa is to locate and drill a target of 30 exploration wells before 2024.

Desmond D’sa‚ of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance‚ said that news of the exploration spelled doom for subsistence fishing communities and the coastal tourism sector.

This process‚ he claimed‚ was being done on the quiet.

“This fight is bigger than me and we needed to engage with people who will be affected all along the coastline. We have been up and down the coast‚ all the way from Richards Bay to Port Edward.”

“People rely on the sea and when they heard about what was happening they said they needed to stand up.”

“We have been engaging with the consultants but they have not answered our questions … pages and pages of questions‚” D’sa said.

The activists and members of the affected communities are expected to meet with representatives of Eni‚ as well as upper echelon management of Sasol in Austerville on Thursday.

“They are going to get a fight from us‚” D’sa said.

Neither Sasol nor Eni‚ were immediately available for comment.