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Virtual Walkout

The Drafting Committee of the Upstream Petroleum Resources Development Bill, 2019 requested an online consultation meeting today with Oceans Not Oil, its affiliates and representatives from other NGO’s who had commented on the Draft Bill.

ONO, and some other Interested and Affected Parties approached today, staged a virtual walkout for the following reasons:

Oceans Not Oil believes attempts at this online ‘consultative process’ to be ethically dubious at a time of Stage 4 Covid-19 lockdown. For the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) to have called for a meeting whilst strict regulations against social and physical interactions are in force emphasizes the lack of bona fides on the part of the department and shows a very strong bias in favour of those privileged enough to have access to devices and data.  This consultative process is neither representative of Interested and Affected Parties, Oceans Not Oil membership, and more significantly, of the communities who are most at risk. 

For the DMRE to be so oblivious to the worldwide lockdown is breathtaking in its audacity.

We second the motion that this meeting cannot be considered a Department public consultation meeting and look forward to receiving confirmation in the form of a minuted response.

The South African commons of both land and sea will be affected by this bill. Communities affected by pipelines and oil and gas infrastructural development remain largely unaware of how this bill will affect their land, air and sea water quality, livelihoods and lifestyles. We therefore insisted that the consultation process is national and second groundWork’s motion requesting a national community consultation plan.

It is our belief that this Operation Phakisa rush to accelerate investments in fossil fuel extraction makes this bill counterintuitive to its object – a“decisive shift in our energy trajectory at a time when humankind faces its greatest existential threat in the form of climate change[i]” – and delays climate action and marginalises affected communities.

[i]State of the Nation Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa, Parliament, Cape Town.

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