Home South African Mantashe insists licence for seismic survey on Wild Coast won’t be withdrawn

Mantashe insists licence for seismic survey on Wild Coast won’t be withdrawn

230

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe says the government will not withdraw the licence given to Shell to conduct a seismic survey for oil or gas deposits on the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape.

A giant snoek marionette operated by puppeteers floated through the crowd as hundreds of protesters gathered at Surfers Corner in Muizenberg to protest against seismic exploration by Shell earlier this month. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

MINERAL Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe says the government will not withdraw the licence given to Shell to conduct a seismic survey for oil or gas deposits on the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape.

Addressing the ANC Amathole regional conference as the party’s national chairperson, Mantashe started his talk about the unrest that broke out in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in July, saying “it was a rehearsal for insurrection”.

“As the ANC, including yourselves, we have not tampered with the apartheid architecture of the economy.”

He noted that the Eastern Cape was the last in development and that it remained underdeveloped.

Mantashe said Shell received a licence to check if the Wild Coast did not have oil or gas deposits but “environmentalists mobilise you to say you don’t want all of that”.

“I am saying if Eastern Cape remains that way, this notion that we must not develop is our second Nongqawuse,” he said.

Nongqawuse was a prophetess who claimed in the 1850s that spirits informed her that the Xhosa people should destroy their crops and kill their cattle and in return European settlers would be swept into the sea and the Xhosa people would prosper.

Despite the slaughtering of the cattle and destruction of the harvest, her prophecy never materialised.

“All of us, including myself, are victims of a prophecy that said we must kill cattle and we will be wealthy,” Mantashe said.

He added that the opposition to the seismic survey was saying “Eastern Cape must not be developed”, yet there was no answer to the high unemployment rate.

“This province must be developed. We are not to withdraw the licence for Shell to check if there is oil. In Coega, we are to develop what we call as LNG (liquefied natural gas), liquid to gas complex … to make this province a gas complex of South Africa,” he said.

“If you don’t follow that, you shall remain the last number. Development will go everywhere. One thing I know about development, you never take it where it is not wanted,” Mantashe said.

The granting of the licence by the Mineral Resources Department has received opposition, with at least one court bid unsuccessful and another on the cards.

The ANC national chairperson said the unemployment rate was high and there was a need to do practical things to create jobs.

He also said when Shell finds oil on the Wild Coast, it was the duty of the Eastern Cape to say it was happy with the find and that it wanted to participate as a province.

“If you can’t do it, it happens in other areas,” Mantashe said.

POLITICAL BUREAU

Previous articleConsumer confidence in the country remains ’fairly deep in negative terrain’
Next articlePfizer set to oust AstraZeneca as top supplier of Covid shots to poor nations