Fracking critics are 'white, rented crowds'

The Karoo Shale Gas Community Forum on Thursday said fracking critics are ignoring the needs of the...

A member of the Treasure the Karoo Action Group participates in a protest at Parliament in Cape Town on Tuesday, 5 April 2011. Picture: Nardus Engelbrecht/SAPA

The Karoo Shale Gas Community Forum on Thursday said fracking critics are ignoring the needs of the Karoo's poverty-stricken residents.

The forum's members attended a briefing by Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu in Cape Town.

Spokesperson Vuyisa Jantjies used the opportunity to hit back at those who oppose fracking by Shell in the Karoo.

He said, "If you have still the demonstrations that you have had, I will tell you - not being racist - that they're purely white, rented crowds, that come and toyi-toyi in front of Parliament."

We are speaking on behalf of the people in the Karoo whom we cannot even transport to come and toyi-toyi in front of your Parliament," he added.

However, the Treasure the Karoo Action Group's Jonathan Deal said that is not true.

"I can tell you that I've driven through the Karoo and there is not a lot of community support just to go ahead and frack. They want to know more before that kind of decision is taken," he said. "And none of the oil companies have consulted properly with the communities of the Karoo."

Shabangu called for patience, saying everyone involved would be given an opportunity to air their views during the public participation process.

She appealed to participants not to get "emotional" and said government's team of experts would continue investigating.