On 28th May, the Botshabelo Unemployed Movement (BUM) launched an extension of the #BanFracking campaign, in the community of Lindley in the Free State. This launch saw the end of a process that has been ongoing for the past year in the Free State as well as KwaZulu-Natal provinces.

The group started with research in proposed fracking sites which was then followed by community buy-in that led to strategy development with last week marking the penultimate week of the campaign development. 

The final week of development was also used as an opportunity for more outreach to be rolled out in surrounding towns including Harrismith. The week started off well with the organising team initiating door-to-door canvassing in the community of Lindley. The public showed great interest in the campaign and many pledged to attend the launch.

On the eve of the door-to-door canvassing in Harrismith it was determined by the organising team to cancel the outreach rollout due to ongoing service delivery protests. This was a big challenge, however, the team also decided to transport activists from Harrismith to Lindley in order for them to attend the launch and called for the canvassing to be done at a later date. The decision to bring in activists came as a mitigation to the outreach rollout not happening and to make sure that the activists from Harrismith would not be left behind in this campaign.

The launch took place amidst some sabotaging tactics by the municipality. We had over 60 people as part of the launch who had a lot of questions around the campaign and also what fracking actually was. Cde Motsi Khokhoma, Cde Mooketsi Diba and Cde Tsietso Radebe led the program on the day with support from 350Africa.org and the AIDC.

The next steps for the campaign are: 

  • The door-to-door canvassing in Harrismith in the next month
  • The outcome of the Rhino Oil EIA Appeal
  • The development of the organising team in Lindley to do outreach in their surrounding towns 
  • Meeting up with AGRI-SA who represent the farmers in the areas earmarked for fracking together with 350, SCLC, groundWork and the Lindley organising team

Botshabelo Unemployed Movement would like to thank all those involved in this campaign: 

  • Newcastle Environmental Justice Alliance
  • Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance
  • South Africa Water Caucus
  • 350Africa.org
  • groundWork
  • Support Centre for Land Change