LegalBrief, 12 August ,2019
AgriSA and attorneys, acting for farmers in some of the major exploration applications, have welcomed a victory in the anti-fracking fight after a US-linked petroleum firm withdrew its application to explore for oil and gas on KZN farms. A report in The Mercury notes that Hans-Jurie Moolman, of Moolman & Pienaar attorneys, acting for a landowner affected by an exploration right application lodged on farms owned by Normandien Farms and other farmers, said they had recently learned that petroleum firm Rhino Oil and Gas Exploration SA had withdrawn its exploration rights application for Normandien Farms. He said another law firm acting for Normandien Farms, which had been preparing for an appeal it had lodged in the Constitutional Court regarding the matter, had been informed of the withdrawal by Petroleum Agency SA (Pasa). Respondents in the matter were Pasa, Rhino Oil and Gas and the Minister of Mineral Resources. ‘We are extremely happy, although it is a bit early to claim victory. But we are confident that it’s a good sign of things yet to come,’ said Moolman. He added that an internal appeal to the Minister of Minerals and Resources had been filed regarding the legality of the firm’s exploration right applications, including those affecting almost 6 000 farms in KZN and the Free State. Moolman said an application to explore for oil and gas on the almost 6 000 farms in KZN was still pending, although Rhino had not yet filed its environmental scoping report for environmental authorisation.