According to the IEA, South Africa generated 93% of their electricity from coal in 2008, and 0% from gas.  That would put SA into one of the biggest carbon producers per capita if one overlooked the dire poverty that the majority of the population still find themselves in. Let's remember that the US EPA said earlier this year that coal generation is responsible for 17000 premature deaths in the US each year thanks to pollution.  Let's also remember that SA is also prone to frequent electricity blackouts:

Southern Africa should brace for vicious cyclical electricity shortages from 2012 onwards as effects of surging power demand, spurred by rising economic growth, and under-investment in energy generation hit home.

The economic shock-waves that hit Southern Africa in 2008, when the full impact of the region's lack of adequate electricity generation infrastructure became glaring, has impacted negatively on economic growth.

Debilitating power cuts that were experienced in Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, which are still recurrent in Tanzania and Zimbabwe only to mention a few countries, were a wake-up call the region should jointly step up efforts to boost electricity generating capacity.

But in SA's Karoo, a relatively desolate area, not the home of lions or zebras or elephants but more of a desert, some visitors who perhaps we can characterise as not representative of the majority, for example $3.6 billionaire owner of Richemont (Cartier, Dunhill, Mont Blanc, etc) Johann Rupert  or Princess Irene of the Netherlands

Irene returned to live in the Netherlands with her children and became involved in various personal development workshops, trying to "find herself". Her connection with nature, that she says she had felt since childhood, intensified, and in 1995 she published her book Dialogue with Nature. The book outlined her philosophy that human beings are alienated from the natural world, but the Dutch media seized upon passages that recounted conversations she said she had with the trees and dolphins.

...are leading a campaign to stop Shell's exploration of the Karoo before it even starts.

Perhaps I get into enough trouble in European or US politics, but when we have the super rich cutting the rope to the helicopter the super poor are clinging to, something simply stinks:

ANTI-fracking coalition Treasure the Karoo Action Group believes Shell and other oil companies will “vigorously” pursue the shale gas exploration method and that the government’s moratorium is “the first skirmish in a battle of international proportions”.

The group has a budget of “close to R10 million” to oppose possible fracking, including in the courts. .

“We have from the outset been independently financed and have managed to mount and maintain a substantial opposition to fracking in South Africa, without a large contribution from anyone outside the group,” national co-ordinator Jonathan Deal said

So what will happen if Her Highess and the reclusive Rupert can get a return on their investment?  Quite apart from more South Africans living without even second world energy and suffering premature death in mines and from pollution this won't change anything for anyone else.

Last month, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu imposed a moratorium on fracking, pending results of a comprehensive scientific investigation into the process that the state has now initiated.

Bonang Mohale, chairman of Shell SA, said the company was “120 percent compliant” with the country’s laws and would obey the government.

If they say ‘No’, we will pack our bags and go and look for a hole somewhere else, because that’s what we do – explore.”

Meanwhile,  the South African majority who cannot pack their Louis Vuittons and go somewhere else,  will just have to stay on the Karoo.  Or even better, move to Soweto.  Out of sight, out of mind. 

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