The Vredefort Dome - the world's largest meteoric impact site - is one step closer to being protected in South African law and being a new world heritage site, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said.
Molewa said a memorandum of agreement, signed by land owners in the area, marked four years of negotiations with land owners in the 300km wide area.
It was a step closer to formal proclamation “of this breath-taking landscape as South Africa's eighth world heritage site.”
“This will give the area a formal status like other sites such as Robben Island, iSimangaliso, Mapungubwe, Cape Floral Region, Richtersveld, uKhahlamba Drakensberg”, she said.
The site has been recognised on the Unesco Heritage list, being described as having “Outstanding universal value to human kind.”
Molewa said she was working with land owners towards “final proclamation of this area as a World Heritage Site.”
The memorandum will also pave the way for the appointment of a management authority which will serve as a precursor for the development of an integrated management plan, as required by Unesco regulations.
The management authority would be mandated to preserve archaeological sites, manage pollution and waste as well as tourism development. - Sapa