2010/11: Shale gas hits the SA energy agenda in a big way in late 2010, with a slew of applications to government, to prospect for shale gas. Shell is the most high profile of the wannabe applicants. Applications are scattered across an area covering about 40 percent of the country.
2012: Civil society pushes back, lobbying government to err on the side of caution. Government places a moratorium on the issuing of exploration licences.
2013: The moratorium is lifted, but fracking gets listed as a ‘controlled activity’, meaning companies need a water licence to do it. Then the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) publishes the draft policy for how the mining should happen.
2014: Come February, it’s budget speech time. With it, a clarion call from Treasury: Fracking is well and truly on the agenda. Again and again, different departments’ ministries use the word ‘game changer’ when talking about fracking, as if some kind of intra-departmental memo has been dispatched by the executive. Even Number One uses it in his State of the Nation address.
Here’s a great overview of some of the important milestones, courtesy of the Centre for Environmental Rights.