- It has been a busy week for the #OceanTotalDestruction campaign – a joint bid, between South African NGO The Green Connection and Bloom in France – to stop TotalEnergies’ oil and gas expansion in Africa.
In Cape Town South Africa this week, The Green Connection – supported by several organisations – held a picket at the French Consulate calling for TotalEnergies to halt oil and gas exploration and extraction projects in South Africa. And eco-justice activists also held a picket at a TotalEnergies KwaDwesi Eastern Cape. Then, in France, The Green Connection and a group of South African small-scale fishers headed to the French Parliament, a follow-up from the presentation to the European Union (EU) Parliament (on 7 February).
The small-scale fishers shared their testimonials about the negative impacts offshore oil and gas extraction has on their livelihoods and their way of life. This forms part of a week-long visit to highlight the threats posed by French company TotalEnergies’ push for new oil and gas in South Africa.
The Green Connection’s Advocacy Officer Kholwani Simelane says, “We came to the French Consulate to defend our democracy, but they would not take our letter to President Macron, calling on him to advise TotalEnergies to stop all oil and gas exploration and exploitation within the coast of South Africa. But we will continue to raise our voices. We also call on our President Cyril Ramaphosa to sign section 6 of the National Energy Act into operation, so that we may move forward with an Integrated Energy Plan (IEP) that takes climate change into account. An IEP developed with meaningful public participation is key to addressing the country’s crippling energy crisis.”
According to The Green Connection’s Lisa Makaula, in Cape Town, “We are not happy with TotalEnergies’ application for a production license to exploit two major gas fields in South Africa. Oil and gas projects are major contributors to climate change. They release greenhouse methane gases that worsen global warming. Exploring for oil and gas will not help the current energy crisis of South Africa nor will it help the coastal communities that depend on the ocean for their livelihoods. Total must move towards a just transition and stop exploring oil and gas in South Africa.”
Zukisa Mankabane, an activist from Gqeberha with the Eastern Cape Environmental Network says, “We are united, together with the rest of the world to resist TotalEnergies and their joint application for a production license for oil and gas exploration between Mossel Bay and Cape St Francis. We are calling for an end to Total imperialism in Africa because the Total scoping report fails to consider the principles in the MSPA – in particular the need for holistic planning and management and also reliance on the best available information.” Mankabane was part of the action at TotalEnergies in KwaDwesi on 8 February.
He adds, “We are here to defend our marine protected areas and are deeply concerned about the lack of public participation in these processes. We call on Ministers Creecy and Mantashe to ensure that consultations with affected communities are fair and that they are not consulted under false pretences. We call on the government of South Africa, together with the French government, to look into our concerns and consider us that are solely dependent on the ocean for our livelihoods.”
The Green Connection’s Community Outreach Coordinator Neville Van Rooy says, “We are in France to send a clear message to the French government and to Total that we will continue to oppose this French company putting our oceans and, as a result, our small-scale fisher livelihoods at risk. Oil and gas are part of our fossil fuel past and must be phased out as part of the just transition. So, it makes little sense that this French company is poised to exploit Africa’s oceans in search of climate change-causing oil and gas.”
He says, “We have handed over a letter to the French Embassy calling on the French President to put a stop to the French company TotalEnergies’ application to drill for oil and gas outside Mossel Bay. South Africa has great potential for greener renewable energy that Total could put its millions and billions towards. Total must stop oil and gas exploration in Africa and start focusing more on greener alternatives that will be better for our planet.”
Click the link below to sign The Green Connection’s petition to stop offshore oil and gas, as part of its Who Stole Our Oceans campaign – https://www.change.org/p/imagine-a-world-with-oiled-up-beaches-without-living-ocean-are-we-running-out-of-time
Author: Bryan Groenendaal