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Urgent Interdict Filed to Protect Wild Coast

Papers are served as the Amazon Warrior seismic survey vessel sails up the East Coast, moving at 2 knots and with restricted manoeuvrability. It is due to start its seismic survey tomorrow, on the 1 December 2021. To date both the Department of Minerals and Energy and the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment have remained silent on an issue very close to hearts of South Africans – the health of our oceans – despite nationwide protests and boycotts against this application for marine seismic blasting by Shell.

We commend Kei Mouth Ski Boat Club and and the Border Deep Sea Angling Association (Interested and Affected Parties in the original exploration right granted to Impact Africa Ltd and Shell PLC) and Natural Justice, represented by environmental law firm Cullinan and Associates, in their efforts to get a coastal protection notice issued from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment. The department is keeping mum.

30 November: Yesterday evening four environmental and human rights organisations – Border Deep Sea Angling Association, Kei Mouth Ski Boat, Natural Justice and Greenpeace Africa – supported by Cullinan & Associates – filed an urgent interim-interim interdict against Shell in the Eastern Cape Division of the Grahamstown High Court to prevent the fossil fuel company from commencing seismic testing along the ecologically diverse and sensitive marine environment of South Africa’s Wild Coast.

Cullinan & Associates delivered a certificate of urgency to the Registrar yesterday at approximately 12h45, 29 November. Acting Judge Govindjee’s Directive was received at around 14h20, which saw the matter as urgent, and determined the following in relation to interim-interim interdict:

1.     Applicants to issue and file papers yesterday, 29 November

2.     Respondents who intend to oppose are to deliver notice of opposition and answering affidavit by 16h00 today, 30 November

3.     Applicants to deliver replying affidavit, if any, by 13h00 tomorrow, 1 December

4.     Applicants and (opposing) Respondents to file heads by 13h00 tomorrow, 1 December.

The papers were filed at the High Court of South Africa, Eastern Cape Division, Grahamstown, and served electronically on Shell’s attorneys yesterday on 29 November 2021. The matter will be heard in Grahamstown and argued virtually at 14h00 tomorrow, 1 December 2021.

Some comments from the applicants:

“It’s ludicrous that this is even being considered as an option by our government to look for gas and oil reserves in an evolving ‘greener’ world in any of our coastal waters, let alone the extremely biodiverse and sensitive Wild Coast. We will not take this lying down and will do all in our power to put a stop to it.” – John Luef,  Border Deep Sea Angling Association. 

“This flies in the face of the government’s responsibility to protect and safeguard human rights and the environment. It also undermines our government’s obligation under the Paris Climate Agreement to mitigate the climate crisis for people now, and for future generations, and contradicts the commitments made at the recent COP26 in Glasgow to lower emissions and advance a just transition.” – Pooven Moodley, Natural Justice, Executive Director.

“Shell’s activities threaten to destroy the Wild Coast and the lives of the people living there. We know that Shell is a climate criminal, destroying people’s lives and the planet for profit. South Africa’s problems do not require violent extraction nor destruction of the environment and community livelihoods. The best and most immediate solution is a just transition to renewable energy, ensuring safe and decent/work jobs, and energy access for all.” – Happy Khambule, Senior Climate and Energy Campaign Manager for Greenpeace Africa.

For overview of the complex political arena of seismic surveys in our oceans see the film Becoming Visible (or for full movie see )

Trailer here below:

4 thoughts on “Urgent Interdict Filed to Protect Wild Coast Leave a comment

  1. Stop Shell from messing up our beautiful East Coast and damaging the sea life.

    It’s a travesty to allow Shell to continue with this destructive Seismic testing at such huge cost to the whales, dolphins and awesome ocean creatures.

    It is unacceptable to continue the search for oil and gas at such a huge cost to human and animal life in South Africa when reasonable alternatives exist.


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