AgriSA and Moolman & Pienaar Attorneys – acting for farmers in some of the major exploration applications – have welcomed a victory in the anti-fracking fight after a US-linked petroleum firm withdrew its application to explore for oil and gas on KZN farms.

The Mercury reports Hans-Jurie Moolman – acting for a landowner affected by an exploration right application lodged on farms owned by Normandien Farms and other farmers – said they had recently learned that petroleum firm Rhino Oil and Gas Exploration SA had withdrawn its exploration rights application for Normandien Farms.

He said another law firm acting for Normandien Farms, which had been preparing for an appeal it had lodged in the Constitutional Court regarding the matter, had been informed of the withdrawal by Petroleum Agency SA (Pasa).

Respondents in the matter were Pasa, Rhino Oil and Gas and the Minister of Mineral Resources.

Rhino Oil and Gas has also lodged a separate exploration right application with Pasa to explore for oil and gas on almost 6 000 farms covering more than 1m hectares of prime farmlands and environmentally sensitive areas, including the uKhahlamba Drakensberg World Heritage Site.

Full report in The Mercury (subscription needed)