Oceans Not Oil is the South African public’s voice against offshore oil and gas development.
It was formed by concerned individuals and a coalition of organisations worried about the impact of escalating reconnaissance/ prospecting activities in the form of seismic surveys and exploration wells on the East Coast of South Africa and its consequence to marine life and climate change.
During 2016 a seismic survey was granted an extension into the whale migration period. Coincidental to this was the highest-ever recorded whale and dolphin strandings along our coast, including a mass stranding and a suspected barotrauma to a True’s Beaked whale. Major newspapers along the KwaZulu-Natal coast, conservation organizations, environmental groups and the public expressed concern.
Becoming Visible (2018), a documentary by Janet Solomon, investigated how this extension was permissible and exposed the loopholes in mining legislation, created during the formation of the One Environmental System (2014), meant to “streamline the licensing processes” for mining, and environmental authorisations. The film addresses the lack of due diligence of Operation Phakisa, a governmental economic development program, which has dramatically escalated offshore mining prospecting, exploration and extraction. The accompanying campaign to Becoming Visible has reached far beyond the screen, generating contagious empathy for effected marine life, as well as outrage for systemic injustice, encouraging cross sector partnerships, and audiences to think differently and take action.