The Endangered Wildlife Trust has warned that the Karoo and large parts of the Northern Cape face an “uncertain future” after government approved prospecting rights for hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
Minister of Minerals and Energy, Mosebenzi Zwane, recently announced that government policy would make provision for energy companies to start prospecting for shale gas in the Karoo.
This decision follows the release of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for Shale Gas in 2016, which aimed to provide a more holistic assessment of the impact of shale gas extraction on the economy, environment and people.
Among the findings of the SEA report was that job opportunities within the shale gas sector would be less than what was widely proclaimed and that the availability of water would be a restricting factor for hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in the Karoo.
In August 2016, after carefully considering the available evidence, the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) adopted the position that impacts from fracking are poorly understood and that the current regulatory framework is insufficiently equipped to properly regulate the activity.