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Eastern Cape DA against fracking

22 January 2014
DESPITE national DA policy giving a tentative green light to hydraulic fracturing, the DA in the Eastern Cape says it is opposed to fracking.

Karoo-Midlands constituency spokeswoman on fracking Samantha Jankovich said the DA in the Eastern Cape had adopted a motion at their provincial congress in Grahamstown in 2012 that opposed fracking "unless it can be proven that damage to the environment, agricultural production and health can be avoided".

She was responding to an article published in The Herald last week in which the ANC and DA's national stances on fracking, as stipulated in the ANC's election manifesto and the DA's policy on natural resources published last year, were compared.

The national DA policy document states that "hydraulic fracturing should only proceed if stringent control measures are imposed to govern and regulate all actions and decisions regarding fracking" and "that an appropriate balance must be found between what is right for the environment and for unemployed people who could benefit from fracking".

Jankovich said the Eastern Cape DA, particularly within the areas earmarked for fracking, did not support shale gas extraction. "However, in line with our national policy, we strive to seek a balance" between environmental and economic concerns.

In the meantime, the provincial government is to invest millions in research on the feasibility of fracking. The shale gas exploration project will be run by the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism over two years, with funding totalling R16-million, withR7.3-million of that for capital expenditure. - Cindy Preller

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