Wild Coast residents praise ocean’s healing power, say no to exploration
Wild Coast tour guides, hikers, leaders, and environmentalists are urging the government to stop the blasting of their ocean because they are dependent on the marine ecosystem, economically and spiritually.
Grandmaster of guides, Sinegugu Zukhulu, a teacher with a master’s degree in environmental science, said: “Shell should not be exploring the ocean at a time when we are attempting to reverse climate change.
“Why do we find ourselves having to fight Shell and its determination to explore for oil in oceans?”
When oil miners explored on land, the climate was already disrupted and disturbed, trashed and polluted, and now they’re migrating to the water
A furious Zukhulu said: “When oil miners explored on land, the climate was already disrupted and disturbed, trashed and polluted, and now they’re migrating to the water.
“We should not have to be speaking about water pollution and gas at this point in time when we face a severe climate change crisis.
“The decision taken by the government to permit this exploration and drilling is crazy, ridiculous and unbelievable. It makes no sense.”
He urged the government to revisit the constitution and return to coastal communities and ask the Wild Coast people what they wanted.
“The constitution guarantees us a right to a safe and protected environment — allowing oil and gas exploration takes away that right.
“The government does not take us seriously. They do not consider the concerns of individuals who live in rural regions. They do not care about their livelihood and spiritual lives.
“But residents are reliant on the ocean for their survival — their healing comes from the pure water from the sea — despite this, the government is willing to risk polluting our water.
The amount of noise in the ocean is intolerable to marine life and will disturb their reproduction rate
“The amount of noise in the ocean is intolerable to marine life and will disturb their reproduction rate.”
Zukhulu said the name of the seismic blasting ship sailing to the Wild Coast, “Amazon warrior” was a cruel irony and a shame to people who were fighting to protect their ecosystem.
“The ocean is an ecosystem. All its creatures have a right to live like every one of us; they do not deserve the assault of seismic blasting.”
Lusanda Jampo, a guide at Mdumbi backpackers, said bluntly: “The government is stupid, they are destroying our lives, they are killing the creatures. Where are we going to get food if they kill our ocean?
“We receive our food from the ocean, and if we let Shell in, we will be killing everything, starving the entire population, and ruining everything.
“We care about the ocean. It is our source of income.
“Tourists want to experience the beauty and nature of the Wild Coast but these people are willing to slaughter dolphins and other animals.
“I don’t understand all that is going on. The government should have talked to us first, they should have prepared us, but they don’t respect their people and their ideas.
“We are voting for the greedy, old ANC pals who are willing to sell our beauty for money.”
Chief Gwadiso Mpumalanga, head of the Khonjwayo traditional council and community, said what the government was doing shamed the African world.
“We are totally against the idea of exploration. The ocean is a place of healing and sustainability; we are killing our people indirectly.
“The government should have spoken to us and weighed the benefits of this action.
“We were not aware of the exploration; we read of it lately in the newspapers but we were not consulted.”
He called on government to remember that the ocean was a living creature and a place of healing.
“There are living things in the ocean; we use the water for our benefit, the seawater has healing properties. No-one should disturb the ocean.”
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