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Shell’s Exploration Plans in South Africa Halted

The Eastern Cape High Court has ruled that the exploration rights granted by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Affairs to Impact Africa and Shell were unlawful – putting an end to any seismic survey in the ocean off the Wild Coast. The rights, extended twice between 2014 and 2021, included permission for what became a controversial seismic survey, which was stopped by an interdict granted in December last year at the behest of Wild Coast communities and civil society organisations who complained of the damaging impact of the survey and that they had not been properly consulted. The applicants then proceeded to court with “Part B” of their application – to review and set aside the granting of the rights in the first place. Because of its importance and the novel issues raised, the matter was heard by three judges: Judge President Selby Mbenenge, Judge Zamani Nhlangulela and Judge Thandi Norman.