Shale gas mining is a process that applies the technique of high-volume, horizontal, slick-water fracturing (‘fracking’ or ‘hydraulic fracturing’). It involves pumping water, sand and chemicals into horizontally drilled wells, under hydraulic pressure to fracture the underground shale layers and release gas.

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About Us

Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG) is a small, non-profit organisation founded by Jonathan Deal in 2011 to ensure awareness, advocacy, accountability and fair decision-making around the issue of shale gas mining in South Africa. Jonathan is a Karoo author and photographer, a well known sustainability advocate and the 2013 recipient of the prestigious international Goldman Environmental Prize. 

Under his leadership, TKAG has engaged with government and various stakeholders and maintains partnerships with other civil rights and environmental NGOs. The organisation has received numerous recognitions and awards, including a Mail & Guardian Greening the Future award in 2012.

TKAG forms part of the Process Custodians Group as part of the national Strategic Environmental Assessment on shale gas mining in South Africa.

TKAG presently pursues a multidimensional strategy encompassing a variety of objectives:
  1. To maintain expert and current knowledge of local and international developments around fracking.
  2. To make use of public forums and media to inform the public of South Africa on the facts about fracking.
  3. To work with government as far as possible to ensure a fair process and appropriate decision on shale gas.
  4. To ensure accountability of all stakeholders and parties involved.
  5. Promoting advocacy and public participation.
  6. To use every legal means at our disposal, including litigation, to protect the people and environment of South Africa in accordance with the tenets of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
TKAG is managed by a volunteer executive team that meets regularly.

The journey so far

There have been a number of significant developments and milestones in the discourse on shale gas in South Africa. Most recently, after four years of lobbying, the South African government finally announced that a Strategic Environmental Assessment will be undertaken, lead by the CSIR, SANBI and the Council for Geosciences.  The progress made in this arena has been due to the tireless efforts of a handful of individuals and groups and is a feather in the hat of civil society.

Below is a timeline of some of the developments since 2011.

  • January 2011: Jonathan Deal created the Facebook group Chaseshelloiloutofthekaroo, which gained 2000 members in ten days, 7000 in five weeks. This has become the portal for exchange of information as well as the coordination of anti-fracking initiatives in SA. It is well monitored by international activists, environmentalists and naturally the oil and gas industry too.
  • 1 February 2011:  Jonathan Deal and a few other members of TKAG attend first shell public meeting in Edgemead Cape Town
  • 26 February 2011: TKAG is officially formed at a farm outside Graaff-Reinet.
  • March 25th 2011: Lewis Pugh addresses Shell in front of a 500 strong crowd at Kelvin Grove – the speech goes viral and around the world in 24 hours.
  • 5 April 2011: Lewis Pugh delivers the Critical Review of the Shell EMP to President Zuma’s office in front of Parliament.
  • The introduction of the moratorium on 20 April 2011. It was extended in August of 2011.
  • May 2011: TKAG files a detailed complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa regarding Shell’s misleading adverts and media statements.
  • Also in May, the formation of an interdisciplinary task team was announced that would address and study the full range of implications related to fracking.
  • The Advertising Standards Authority of SA found Shell guilty on four accounts after complaints. They were ordered to withdraw their advertisements.
  • In late 2011, TKAG filed papers at the High Court under the Public Access to Information Act to obtain informaiton on the task team composition and brief.
  • On the 9th of January 2012, the North Gauteng High Court ruled in favour of TKAG, allowing us to gain access to information regarding the fracking task team that Minister Shabangu commissioned to study the full effects and implications of fracking.
  • In October 2013, draft regulations on shale gas explroation and exploitation were published, allowing only for 30 days for public comments to be submitted.
  • In May 2015, the Strategic Environmental Assessment on shale gas mining was announced.
  • In June 2015, the final regulations were gazetted.
  • On 27 November 2015 TKAG and AfriForum jointly filed papers at the North Gauteng High Court to appeal the fracking regulations published in June 2015.