The Karoo Fracking Scenario: Can Development and Environmental Wellbeing Coexist, or Must One of Them Prevail?

"South Africa is now exploring the idea of exploiting the field of shale gas in the Karoo in order to derive energy fundamental for development. The proposal is that shale gas could play a critical role in the country’s energy mix in order to meet the demand for energy, thus promoting industrialisation for economic growth. Other benefits could include employment creation. There are, however, concerns about the impact that fracking will have on the environment. The lack of a clear environmental impact assessment of the effects of fracking prior to the issuing of permits by the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) has raised concerns from environmentalists, economists and the public. This brief attempts to examine whether development and environmental health can coexist in the Karoo. The brief recommends that government undertake extensive research around the entire fracking process, to determine the viability of the project and also its environmental impact."