Coastal communities’ victory over Shell !

Huge congratulations and thanks to Sustaining the Wild Coast (SWC), together with the Dwesa-Cwebe Communal Property Association, small-scale fishermen Ntsindiso Nongcavu (Port St Johns), Sazise Maxwell Pekayo and Cameron Thorpe (Kei Mouth), Amadiba traditional leader and healer Mashona Dlamini and All Rise Attorneys for Climate and the Environment, along with the many others working behind the scenes, for their successful application to stop Shell’s seismic survey off the Wild Coast.

This was a significant and joyful moment of victory for the fisherfolk and coastal communities of the Eastern Cape, as well as the community based organisations, NGOs, researchers and lawyers working in solidarity with these groups. This important achievement emerges from many threads of movement building, relationship growing, collective organising and solidarity.

Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi argued a strong and compelling case, drawing on the affidavits of the applicants, whose deep intergenerational knowledge of and dependence upon this coastline, as well as their customary law regarding the spiritual significance of the ocean, provided strong evidence in favour of the interdict. The judgement highlights the Constitutional imperative to respect all spiritual beliefs, and therefore to take seriously the applicants assertion that the seismic surveys pose a threat to the ancestral realm. It also highlights that absolute inadequacy of the consultation process, which completely excluded the communities who stand to be most affected – reflective of a much broader problem of an exclusionary and harmful lack of meaningful participation in environmental decision making.

Read the full judgement here:

There are many struggles ahead to resist the damaging excesses of the extractive Blue Economy, but this case sets a really important precedent for coastal justice.