Agri SA president Johannes Moller has welcomed Cabinet's endorsement of the mineral resources department's decision to place a moratorium on licences to undertake shale gas development in the Karoo by way of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
"The particular Cabinet decision follows Agri SA's letter to Minister [Susan] Shabangu on 24 March requesting a moratorium on shale gas mining where fracking is proposed, pending the findings of a US inquiry currently conducted by their Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and aimed specifically at fracking," he said in a statement.
Agriculture in the Karoo could not afford to be exposed to uncertain shale gas development processes which could affect the economic survival and quality of life of rural communities.
"The availability and quality of subterranean water resources represent the life-artery of the area," Moller said.
He also expressed the hope that government would deal similarly with other areas in South Africa where shale gas development using this method was planned.
"We would like to be included in the multi-disciplinary team led by the department of mineral resources, which will undertake research into the implications of fracking.
"Agri SA appreciates Cabinet's commitment to a clean environment whereby ecological aspects will not be compromised," Moller said.