The meetings in Howick West and Mooi River took place as an obligation of SLR Consulting (Environmental Impact Assessors) and Rhino Oil and Gas (the exploiters), to enable interested and affected parties to gain more knowledge on the proposed exploration, its methods and modus operandi in ascertaining the likely presence of both oil and gas, so as to exploit such finds.
Numerous Midlands Conservancies Forum (MCF) members attended the Public Meetings to both learn and raise any objections. It must be made clear that the MCF does not concur with, nor subscribe to some of the reports that have emanated from various protesting factions, nor the boorish way in which the “activists” conducted themselves.
There was no doubt that a vast majority of attendees were ANTI any disturbance and/or incursion in the rich bio-diverse area of the Midlands. There were, however, many who had hoped to gain a better understanding of the process and procedures involved. Sadly, due to the orchestrated and unnecessary behaviour of some individuals present, the information sought from SLR consulting and the Rhino Oil and Gas team was thwarted.
Philip Steyn, COO of Rhino Oil and Gas made a number of attempts at his presentation which the activists disrupted, thus ensuring a futile outcome. It must however be said that the snippets that he was able to utter, smacked of righteous and condescending assumptions, in the hope that general acquiescence would stem from the economic prospect and job creation possibilities. Does an economic benefit surpass the possibility of a lasting and insidious ecological degradation?
The MCF and the majority of its Conservancy affiliates do not condone the “grandstanding” and some of the tactics that were a dominating feature of the meetings, nor some of the subsequent reporting. Fracking NO, but let us be informed and know more about the enemy we are facing. There are so many fundamental Eco-based arguments that can be invoked that would be more suitable for an organised opposition to Fracking and related exploitations.
We will continue to engage, but the prospective “plunderers” need to understand that they have failed to connect with the more rural and less advantaged communities. We support these communities’ angry and vitriolic protestations, and the pleas contained in their frustrated anger.
Hopefully the suggestion that an electronic presentation in all appropriate languages be put in digital form, sent to all potentially affected Municipalities, with the request that these are made available to the Wards in their jurisdiction. In so doing, the hitherto (excluded) communities and groupings can become exposed to the threats and consequences of FRACKING.