This story was originally published by Hakai Magazine and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
In a court decision reached late last year, Indigenous communities from the Wild Coast of South Africa’s Eastern Cape have attained a landmark legal victory against energy and petroleum giant Shell.
To win their case, lawyers representing the Umgungundlovu, Dwesa-Cwebe, and Port Saint Johns Indigenous communities, among others, argued that because Shell failed to consult meaningfully with local communities, the company’s efforts to explore shale gas off the country’s eastern coast ignored a crucial aspect of local custom.
The victory has been hailed as a major breakthrough in the effort to stem the tide of climate change. But it is also a potent example of how Wild Coast communities are using the courts to fight for the right to determine what happens in their territory and strengthening their hand in a country heavily marred by colonialism.
The application that kicked off the lawsuit was brought... Read more