Heritage laws and practice

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              Heritage laws and practice
                                                        permits to destroy, damage, deface, alter, remove from its
                                                        original position, subdivide or change the planning status
                                                        of a provisionally protected place or alter or damage any
                                                        structure or part thereof, older than 60 years, protected in
                                                        terms of the NHRA.
                                                                   There are similar forms dealing with
                                                        archaeological, paleontological or meteorite permits as
                                                        these are also strictly controlled by the Act.
                                                                   Lastly come Grade 3 sites, which are controlled
                                                        by local authorities. They are: any heritage resource
                                                        which fulfills 1 or more of the criteria in section 3(3) of
                                                        the act. In the case of a site if it contributes to the
                                                        environmental quality or cultural significance of a larger
                                                        area which fulfills one of the criteria of 3(3).
                                                                   Grades 3(a) & (b) are heritage resources that
     Len Raymond, Chairman of Heritage                  have sufficient significance to be protected for their
         South Africa, addressed us                     individual intrinsic merit and should be placed upon the
                                                        register and accommodated in the zoning scheme.
                                                                   Grade 3(c) is significant primarily because of its
         We were privileged to have Mr Len
                                                        contextual significance and will thus only be protected if
Raymond, Chairman of Heritage South Africa at
                                                        it is included in a conservation area.
the Granary, Diaz Museum at Mossel Bay where he
                                                                   Mr Raymond said that heritage studies must be
addressed us on The National Heritage Resources Act
                                                        combined with all local studies such as urban edge,
pertaining to heritage on Friday 24 October 2008.
                                                        densification and integrated development framework. It
His succinct and pithy address on Act 25 of 1999
                                                        is possible that upon completion of the studies and
was attended by 42 people.
                                                        assessment many buildings older than 60 years will be
         This Act protects more than just
                                                        removed from the protected list. It is also possible that in
buildings. Cultural landscapes, large tracts of land,
                                                        important areas younger buildings and vacant sites will
graves, sites of conflict and places associated with
                                                        be the subject of strict control.
oral history are among the areas that also enjoy
                                                                   The theory is that the PRHAs would delegate
protection. The Act also assigns responsibility for
                                                        authority to the local authorities upon their obtaining
the identification, protection and management of
                                                        competence. This would depend on the competence,
these resources.
                                                        independence and heritage-based experience of the
         The South African Heritage Resource
                                                        staff, and would also require a system of local
Agency, known as SAHRA, was established by an
                                                        committees with a proven track record. The local
Act of Parliament, and is responsible for Grade 1
heritage sites. Such sites are of national
          Grade 2 sites are controlled by Provincial
Heritage Resource Agencies (PHRA). SAHRA
should have certified their competence and their
assets so that they could perform their duties. This
has not been done by all provinces yet where
Provincial Heritage Departments exist in name
only. A system of re-grading them is in process in
the Western Cape, and should be countrywide. All
old “National Monuments” are now Provincial
Heritage Sites. Some Provincial Sites include those
considered not quite good enough to be Grade 1
         Heritage Western Cape was established by
Provincial Gazette 5937 on 25 October 2002. This              Chairman, David Shearing, Len Raymond and
Gazette published standard forms to be used for                      Vice-Chairman Hazel Jonker
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municipality must introduce protective regulations.   various categories. At this time new “badges” will be
          For all practical purposes the decision     designed.
making authority in this province is Heritage                   Heritage Western Cape is busy with the
Western Cape. All contested or controversial          declaration of provincial sites through declaration
decisions must be referred to the Built               review committees. Due to our history of exclusion, we
Environment and Landscape Committee of                are now concentrating on sites that were previously
H.W.C. commonly referred to as BELCOM. All            ignored. The “Khoi” Strandloper site at Elandsbaai, the
requests for demolitions must go before               Griqua site at Plettenberg Bay, the Witteboomen forest
BELCOM. The officials are authorized to make          in Constantia and the community house associated with
run-of-the-mill decisions.                            the trade union movement in Salt River.
          Approval to work on a protected building              What is the position with old national
or site can only be granted by the delegated          monument badges? These proclamations have been
authority. Local conservation bodies can only         overtaken by the new act. The badges are part of history
support or oppose the proposal. The more              and must be retained. There is a lesson in this as the
important the asset is, the more demanding the        badges are being stolen for scrap and are not being
approval process will become. In many instances       replaced due to the cost involved. They may not be
expensive reports will be required.                   removed.
          There are a number of legal provisions                Any alteration to any building over 60 years old
that must be obsereved.                               requires a permit. This includes rezoning, consent use,
     1) All meetings at which decisions are made      subdivision and new work to the site. This is possibly the
     must be open to the public.                      most difficult aspect of the act. Every year more and
     2) Any person with an intrest must be allowed    more buildings become involved.
     to make a presentation (the laws of natural                In assessing alterations the building's
     justice).                                        importance is not only dependant upon the building
     3) Affected persons can request reasons for      itself, but also its surroundings. Buildings within
     the decision.                                    provincial and local heritage areas will be more severely
     4) Any person can only assess the issue at one   judged than better buildings standing alone. For instance
level.                                                Pinelands is by its history a special area and the character
          Any work - even removing plaster -          is important. It should be preserved even if the buildings
requires a permit from the delegated authority.       are not important in their own right.
The permit must be retained on site. Proceeding                 Intervention, either by means of new buildings
without a permit could involve a fine and jail        or ill-considered alterations, can fundamentally alter the
sentence. This could also disqualify you for a visa   status of an otherwise good historic area. In local areas it
in many parts of the world                            is envisaged that local proactive regulations will grant the
          With the re-grading of old national         local heritage committees some aesthetic control over
monuments will come a more focused public             this. Currently, if the building site is less that 5000 m² it is
participation process. More attention will then be    uncontrolled if it is not included in a proclaimed area.
paid to the declaration of new monuments in the

   A strange headstone on the road to graaff-reinet

                                                            This bedstead marks the grave of an unknown
                                                            person who died while travelling through the
                                                            Karoo. One story goes that it is the grave of a
                                                            little girl who was buried under her bed. Another
                                                            says it’s the wife of the leader of the party.
                                                            Who-ever it is, she lies in the wide open veld
                                                            about 30 kms on the Aberdeen side of Graaff-
                                                                                                      Page 20

    Fourth Outing to Knysna on 11 Oct 2008. Our       locally to build the first church. Mrs Parkes said
    grateful thanks to Margaret Parkes who was        donations varied from £20 from John Rex of
    not only our main speaker, but also organized     Melkhoutkraal down to Workman Watton who gave 5/-
    the tea. Thanks also to Allen Duff, who with      and Sophie who gave sixpence. A deputation went to see
    Margaret organized the whole day.                 the Bishop, who visited The Knysna in 1848 with his
                                                      artistic wife Sophy, and they arrived with plans for the
           The small St George's church, now          church. This church, later somewhat enlarged, served the
dominated by its brother, `big' St George, has a      congregation
unique position in Knysna's history because it was    until the big
its first community project.                          St Georges'
                                                      Church was
                                                      in 1937.
                                                      u n i q u e
                                                      screen made
                                                      by Billy Bern,
                                                      son of a
                                                      who had
                                                      worked on
                                                      the first
                                                      church, and
           St George’s Church through
                                                      designed by
                 the Lytch Gate
                                                      Victor Jones,
         Mrs Margaret Parkes, the Knysna              the interior
historian, explained to members of the Simon van      of the new             John Benn, the famous pilot,
der Stel Foundation during their fourth outing this   ch u r ch . I t     lies buried in the Church grounds
year, that traveling to George from The Knysna to     depicts the
have a baby baptized in the early days was huge       crown of
undertaking, what with two dangerous passes and       thor ns.
nine rivers to cross.                                 Using two
         When George Rex of Melkhoutkraal died        stinkwood
                                   in 1839 he         trees felled by
                                   w i l l e d a      honey thieves,
                                   morgen of          he made the
                                   ground for a       screen at The
                                   place of           Crags with
                                   worship, she       machinery
                                   said. At that      driven by a
                                   time Bishop        watermill. It
                                   Robert Gray,       was brought
                                   appointed to       to Knysna by
                                   spread the         oxwagon. Mrs
                                   gospel and         P a r k e s
                                   organize           pointed out
                                   church work in     o t h e r
                                   Southern           examples of
                                   Africa, arrived    Bern's work:
  Margaret Parkes gave us th       in Cape Town       the choir stalls
   history of all the building     and money was      and the huge
       and also the graves         collected          carving                        Allen Duff
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                    Knysna and millwood outing

          The Church at Newhaven, painted by        Margaret Parkes told us the history of all
                     Sophy Gray                       the tombstones round the Church

             St George’s Church, Knysna          Inside St George’s Church with the beautoful
                                                           screen in front of the altar

             The first little Church which is   Allen Duff told us all about the mining town of
                         still in use            Millwood. He was standing on a street of the
                                                              village of Sackville
                                                                                                              Page 22

                                              Two of the sconces
                                           in the Maritime museum.
                                             They should be better

behind the altar (the reredos), which with other        outings an example to us all.
remarkable pieces of stinkwood carving unify the                 The visit to the Millwood Gold Fields, led by
church furnishings. Light for the dark interior of      Allen Duff of George, was a double winner. He had
the church is filtered through the stained glass        promised to tell us about the lives of the shopkeepers of
windows many of which were designed locally.            Millwood in 1880s. We had all had a jolly good lunch and
         At the Maritime Museum Mrs Parkes              while it was a lovely day and the views in the distance
showed us an oil painting and models of the brig        breathtaking, it was difficult to know how he was going
Knysna, another of George Rex's business                to bring the rather monotonous bushy foreground
ventures which traded up and down the coast for         without buildings to life. Quite equal to the task, he
eight years until his death. Pictures of the ten        handed out spreadsheets with 16 photos taken of
Fairmiles built locally for the Royal Navy during       Millwood and its inhabitants in its heyday, told us to sit
World War II and photo and the trophies won by          down and recounted the most intimate details of the lives
locally built yachts Voortrekker and Albatros II,       of those long dead people so that they jumped from the
proud winners of the Cape-to-Rio yacht race.            photos, and the bush and trees were forgotten.
         Mrs Parkes' knowledge of Knysna's                       The most unforgettable story was of poor Mrs
heritage cannot be surpassed, and her energy and        Graham who had the lump in her breast removed by the
the stream of publications she produces, as well as     village doctor, because her husband could not afford to
her willingness to share her knowledge, makes her       take her to Cape Town. When the slump started in 1890
                                                                                      and the prospectors
                                                                                      abandoned their gold claims
                                                                                      for richer pickings at
                                                                                      Barberton, her ex-army
                                                                                      husband decided to move to
                                                                                      Kimberley and she had to
                                                                                      pack up the remains of their
                                                                                      shop, their goods and
                                                                                      perhaps even help pull
                                                                                      down their little tin house. It
                                                                                      was all too much. The day
                                                                                      before they trekked she said
                                                                                      she was tired, lay down on
                                                                                      some borrowed bed and
                                                                                      died quietly, riddled with
                                                                                               For the past thirty
                                                                                      years the Simon van der Stel
                                                                                      Fo u n d a t i o n h a s h e l d
                                                                                      outings four times a year,
                                                                                      bringing the past and its
                                                                                      people to life and keeping
                 Sitting in a straight stripe at Sackville while
                                                                                      our history and heritage
                            listening to Allen Duff

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