By Saliem Fakir · 11 Jun 2012
Piety rules the day over astuteness and prudence.
"It would be wrong for us to not use the resources that God left us with. This is a blessing that God gives us, and we need to exploit for the benefit of the people.”
An Excellent Article
This takes us to the heart of the matter.
Fracking in the Karoo
Unfortunately, the article is rather emotively charged, which detracts from its impact. Political shenanigans should not be adopted for such an important matter.
For the minister to be hypocritically praying is a ludicrous way to have deal with a natural resource - when it can be proved that it really is down there.
As was mentioned by a geologist from Stellenbosch University in a SABC pgm on fracking after the 8 am news earlier this week (and as I have mentioned in one or two of my letters to the Cape Argus), despite all the gross opposition, one test well needs to be established to either prove or disprove what all sorts of people are claiming, eg about the amount of natural gas down there and all the alleged harm to the environment and potable water from the aquifers.
What all the objections seems to boil down to is that some commercial organisation - Shell for one - is going to make a hell of a packet out of the exploitation of this South African resource, if it really does exist. And this ANC trust that Fakir mentions, the Batho Batho Trust, as a huge beneficiary, who exactly are they and how have they allegedly become involved with this fracking situation? I don't know anything about them: why didn't Fakir provide more information?
In the pgm on SABC, points were made that in the USA and elsewhere, most wells which have experienced environmental and contaminated water problems have been vertical ones, not all at very great depth either. Over the Karoo, the actual fracking wells will be driven horizontally once the vertical hole has been driven down to about 4 000 metres, one hell of a depth. So what is to be said about this situation in comparison with what has occurred elsewhere in the world? We won't know - no one will know, and all the objectors to fracking are far too insistent that environmental issues should come first above all else - what the reality will be until a single test well is driven down. Will water really pressure itself 4 000 metres back up to the surface? Will so much water be required that it will seriously deplete the aquifers of valuable clean water required for agricultural purposes?
Because many horizontal fracking lines can be drilled from a single vertical shaft, how many surface areas will be necessary for setting up all the plant and equipment? I suspect far fewer than when only vertical fracking wells were being drilled, each one requiring its plant and equipment platform.
How the govt can get assurances that South Africa will truly benefit from this resource - I repeat if it can be proved to be present - does remain a most important aspect to be considered, and how measures can be adopted to assure that foreign companies don't take out of South Africa vast financial resources which by-pass tax payments remains to be seen how careful the govt can be. But with its appalling record of corruption, etc, the situation at the moment doesn't allow one to be very confident that anything but sheer exploitation will occur. Despite, of course, the various denials. Well, who would admit to such nefarious activities in advance but mad individuals!
So, the article is spoilt by being for too emotionally charged. And that's not the way to go to get the message across. A commercial organisation like Shell will merely laugh -"Heck, these naive individuals". No, it's not good news to reflect the emotional reactions of those who are oppose to fracking merely on principle.
Fracking in General
@Mike Thurgood. You might understand what's at stake if you took the time to watch Josh Fox's documentary, "Gasland", which shows the utter devastation of vast tracts of the USA in the short space of 6 years. Devastation of the landscape, the ecology, the rivers and streams, and devastation of ordinary citizens' lives. Heartless, corrupt, greedy corporations have perverted justice and governance for the sake of massive profits. The lies they spin are outrageous. Watch the film and judge for yourself, please!