This report comes from Fritz Bekker and reads as follows:
Possible unlawful commencement of natural gas exploration by Ice Finance and/or its filial Advasol (Pty) Ltd.
A situation has transpired on 10 July 2010 pertaining to the possible unlawful commencement of the non-invasive gas exploration phase by Ice Finance, the holding company of Advasol (Pty) Ltd. This situation report aims to put this incident on record for distribution and to facilitate the coordination of follow-up activities.
Some of the local Stilbaai- and particularly the Blombos farmers including myself have been aware of the presence of two white males in a white Ford Ranger double cab bakkie with registration number YSP 242 GP over the last three weeks. Their modus operandi is to obtain entry to farms through unmanned open gates, commence with scientific measurements and claim to be looking for subterranean drought relief water when confronted. Most farmers then allow their presence as they promise feedback pertaining to the groundwater quality and depth, which is always useful to the farming community.
We started contacting a number of Blombos farmers to investigate this situation. Some of them reported that they found these two males on their properties busy with scientific measurements and one farmer reported that field measurements were made in association with two boats that came very close to the shore at Odendaalspunt (Blomboschfontein). He noted some communication between the boats and the land based surveyors in the said white double cab bakkie.
The white Ford Ranger double cab bakkie was spotted on the Blombos road on Thursday 8 July 2010 at 14:30. The registration number was taken and a search of the SAPS motor vehicle database showed that this vehicle is registered to: Ice Finance; 210 Anarand Avenue, Waterkloof Glen, Pretoria.
The two males driving this vehicle were found to reside at the Little Rock Guest House in Jongensfontein where they also store a large off-road trailer that is packed with geotechnical measurement equipment.
A friend and I followed them from this venue at approximately 8:00 on 10 July 2010 to the farm Melkhoutefontein 480/101, commonly known as Blikhuis, and allowed them some time to unpack their equipment. We then photographed the vehicle and the geotechnical survey equipment, taped the ensuing conversation and took a GPS reading of the locality where they were busy conducting their fieldwork.
Their spokesperson, a Johan Koekemoer, claimed to be investigating the presence of ground water for the farm owner, a Mr. Michaels. He stated on record that he was appointed by Mr. Michaels to perform a ground water survey. They immediately packed up their equipment and left the scene. We phoned the Stilbaai SAPS to ask them to investigate a case of trespassing.
Upon further investigation it was found that the property belongs to Mr. Moses Michaels, an 83-year-old retired schoolteacher from Melkhoutfontein. Discussions were also held with the owner of a neighbouring farm, Mrs. Ellie Saayman as well as one of her family members, a Mr. Nickolas Riddles. They stated that semi-permanent measurement equipment was set up on the property three weeks ago and that the two males made regular visits to this location over the last three weeks.
I subsequently located Mr. Michaels in Melkhoutfontein on the same day. He stated that he found these two males with the vehicle YSP 242 GP on his property nearly three weeks ago and refuted their claim that he appointed them to do any survey. They were busy with scientific measurements at the time when he found them with many thin wires that radiated over his farm road from a central position, preventing him from driving there. Mr. Koekemoer reportedly then stated that he was doing his PhD in the area and asked permission to continue at this location. Mr. Michaels allowed them to stay on, as he would also like more information on his ground water. He was promised some feedback by the end of that week, which never occurred.
I accompanied Mr. Michaels to the Stilbaai SAPS on the afternoon of 10 July. Mr. Michaels made a statement to the Police and laid a charge of trespassing against the two males in the vehicle with Ice Finance registration number YSP 242 GP. Mr. Michaels felt betrayed and indicated that these two males deceived him in order to use his property for scientific measurements that may not be related to his farms water supply. The Stilbaai SAPS subsequently took statements from Mr. Koekemoer and his colleague and is now investigating a charge of trespassing against them.
Mr. Koekemoer made a statement to the SAPS that they are employed by a Pretoria-based company with the name Richtray and their superviser is named Jaco with the cell number 076 222 1759. They initially also lied the Police in stating that they have been contracted by Mr. Michaels to perform a ground water survey on his farm.
I believe that there is a high probability that Ice Finance and/or Advasol (Pty) Ltd. deceived some gullible farm owners to commence with natural gas prospecting and reconnaissance operations under the facade of ground water investigations for drought relief that is intended to benefit them.