Activists are expected to gather outside the Johannesburg offices of Shell Sunday morning to protest against the oil giant’s plans to conduct a seismic survey off the Eastern Cape coast.

On Friday, the Makhanda High Court dismissed an urgent interdict application lodged by environmental groups to stop Shell from going ahead with the seismic survey.

This means Shell can now proceed to search for gas reserves in the Wild Coast.

However, activists say the seismic blasting will destroy precious biodiverse ecosystems and the livelihoods of local communities.

The organisation Extinction Rebellion South Africa, Malik Dasoo says they plan “to shut down a nearby Shell”.

“We’re also responding to the Court ruling that allows Shell to continue its exploration activities. We feel it is not fair and we feel that the burden of proof should be on Shell to prove that no harm exists. We’re going to shut down a nearby Shell,” says Dasoo.

Greenpeace: Court decision will have a negative impact

The Senior Climate and Energy Campaign Manager at Greenpeace, Happy Khambule says the court decision will have a negative impact.

“The decision to allow Shell to continue with this plans to destroy the world is disappointing. To say the least, not only will plastic destroy precious biodiversity ecosystems, but you do also destroy the livelihoods of communities who depend on these ecosystems for their livelihood. All in the name of profit. Greenpeace Africa will continue to support the nationwide resistance. I can share and pursue the legal avenue to stop Shell,” says Khambule .

Programme manager for Natural Justice, Melissa Groenink, speaks to SABC News about the Shell and the Court ruling

Shell SA: We continue to do the best that we can

Shell SA Chairperson, Hloniphizwe Mtolo, says they will continue engaging the public about its concerns on the matter.

“We continue to be very aware of public sentiment on this and we continue to do the best that we can to assure the public, that will be extremely responsible. When we conduct this seismic survey, Shell has a long history of conducting such survey, everything that we do, with the utmost care for the environment and taking into account the marine life and we have to deal with that in the oceans and otherwise,” says Mtolo.

Mtolo on the court decision:

 

 

Environmental activists picket in Cape Town ahead of the arrival of Shell’s seismic drilling ship

in November, Members of Green Connection and other environmental activists were picketing at the Cape Town Harbour ahead of the arrival of petroleum giant Shell’s seismic drilling ship, Amazon Warrior.

The ship was on its way to the Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast where it is due to start offshore seismic testing and surveys for oil and gas deposits off the coast between Morgan Bay and Port St Johns.

 

Additional reporting by Mcebisi Ngqina.