Saving the Wild Coast: Challenging Shell’s seismic surveys

Natural Justice joins court action against Shell’s seismic testing off the Wild Coast

In November 2021, Natural Justice led an urgent court interdict application to stop Shell’s seismic surveys off the Wild Coast of South Africa because of the harm it posed to the local communities and environment, and because Shell and the Ministery of Mineral Resources had flouted their legal obligations to respect citizens’ right of consultation and public participation. We lost. 

However, a successful interdict was obtained a few weeks later by the applicants in the Sustaining the Wild Coast case – a separate court case brought on behalf of communities on the Wild Coast.  Victory! 

Part A of this case saw Shell interdicted until Part B could be heard. Part B will review the decision by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy to grant an exploration right in the first place. Natural Justice filed a motion in February 2022 requesting that our application be joined with the application in the Sustaining the Wild Cost case in order to argue Part B before the court. Solidarity!

Read our fact sheet to learn more about the case

To access court papers

The sea is also a mystical place to me, a place where our ancestors reside and a place of prayer. Some view the sea as a place of worship and congregate as churches on the shores.

Community applicant, Ntsindiso Gerald Nongcavu, Port St Johns, Eastern Cape Environmental Network Tweet

Court action

Both the joinder application and Part B will be heard by a full bench of Judges in Gqeberha at the Port Elizabeth High Court, from Monday 30 May to Wednesday 1 June 2022. Judgment will likely be reserved until later this year.

If we win, this case will:

If you destroy the ocean, you destroy human life. Our livelihoods as indigenous people will be history if the South African Government allows Shell to mine our ocean, our spiritual healing place. Communities have the right to choose and we have the right to live in a healthy environment. As the Amadiba Crisis Committee we say no to any kind of extractivism. Let’s put people before profit.

Nonhle Buthuma, Amadiba Crisis Committee Tweet

What can you do?

We need your support! Help us fund a united legal front to strengthen the global movement to transition away from fossil fuels and advance a sustainable future.

Organise, mobilise and take direct action! With people power and solidarity, we can advance a just transition, defend people and planet, hold duty bearers accountable and uphold the rule of law. Join local demonstrations in your area or take part in pickets outside the court room.

The ocean is a commonage for all of us. It is sacred to us and we use it for rituals. Extractivism and oil exploration hinders our right to practise our religion and threatens our cultural heritage. Oil and gas will lead to more emissions, and in the face of climate change, this is wholly irresponsible. We as Amadiba people unanimously oppose this oil exploration and destruction of our sacred land.

Sinegugu Zukulu, Sustaining the Wild Coast Tweet

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