Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, SC, who argued for the communities, said Mantashe’s comments were ignorant.
“To instead defend Shell — with its headquarters in England — is a grave insult.”
Ngcukaitobi dismissed Shell’s contention that his clients should first have appealed to Mantashe before resorting to court for an urgent interdict.
The minister had already firmly “nailed his colours to Shell’s mast”, and an internal appeal would have been a waste of time.
He argued that the seismic blasting activities undertaken by Shell were unconstitutional, illegal and invalid as the company lacked a proper environmental authorisation under the National Environmental Management Act (Nema) and had failed to properly consult affected communities along the Wild Coast.
He described the consultation carried out by Shell as a farcical sham and said it had deliberately excluded communities and individuals who relied on the coastline for sustenance, income and cultural rights.
He also slammed Shell for being “dismissive” about the cultural and spiritual importance of the sea to communities along the Wild Coast.