Special statement on Shale Gas to the National Assembly

South African Government Information 18 September 2012.

18 Sep 2012

Honourable Speaker,
Honourable Members,
Fellow South Africans,

May I begin by thanking you for affording me this rare opportunity to inform this House about a subject so crucial to the future of our country. This subject relates to the potential occurrence of a world class shale gas deposit estimated to be the fifth largest in the world. As the potential was brought to our attention, we needed to understand implications of developing this resource.

I accordingly instituted, in February 2011, a moratorium on the acceptance and processing of new applications involving hydraulic fracturing. It is now history that Cabinet subsequently endorsed the moratorium on the processing of these applications. That was both responsible and cautionary.

Against this background, I should like to appraise this House about the critically important decision of Cabinet to approve the report of the Task Team on Shale Gas, and the subsequent decision to lift the moratorium on the processing of applications for exploration in the Karoo, well known for its vast plains and tender lamb…

(Editor’s note: Eloquent words and strong promises – it is now up to civil society to monitor progress in implementing appropriate fracking regulation and job creation and hold our government to its promises. And lets hope the shale gas promise doesn’t disrupt the drive for renewal energy power and close our eyes to the potential to use imported natural gas to avoid further coal and nuclear power stations.)