About two weeks ago the annual “Gasdown Frackdown” meeting was hosted by groundWorks and the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance to take a look at all the Oil, Gas and Fracking exploration taking place or proposed to take place in and around South Africa.

The meeting was well attended by NGO’s, CBO’s and Community members alike from Kwazulu Natal, Free State, Gauteng and the Northern Cape. Over the 3 days, we gathered to reflect on the environmental, economic and political crisis our country and world is currently facing and considered our response to this crisis.

We heard from the community based organisations about the different activities taking place in their communities by some of the world’s largest oil companies like  Sasol, ENi, Exxon Mobil or ShelI as part of the government’s Operation Phakisa(Hurry Up). It is this same operation that has sold the rights to South Africa’s marine diverse coastline for either Gas,Oil or Fracking. It was said  that in some places there has been some testing and in other places Public participation meetings were held yet results were not forthcoming due to the unavailability of those needed to answer the relevant questions.

SASOL and ENI reps were available but didn’t have right knowledge of the proposed projects to give satisfactory answers. The meeting was adjourned without even taking place.

The Gasdown Frackdown meeting proved to be a great success with representation from CER,ONO,Greenpeace,350.org and Earthlife Africa present to engage with local  CBO’s organisations about the challenges and personal stories, and help with strategic interventions on how to best move forward.