Five new heritage sites approved in Western Cape
Cape Town - The provincial heritage council has approved the classification of five new heritage sites in the Western Cape.
The sites include Blaauwberg Nature Reserve; Freedom Square in Bonteheuwel; Gugulethu 7 Memorial; Langa Pass office in Langa; and Princess Vlei in Retreat.
Cultural Affairs and Sport MEC Anroux Marais said all those sites have special qualities which make them significant within the province.
She added that the sites connect closely to events and figures of provincial significance as well as enrich the understanding of the cultural, historical and social development of the Western Cape, and the country.
“These sites have a rich history to the province but also to the communities in which they are situated. In many instances, the sites hold narratives highlighting the resilient spirit of the people of our country,” Marais said.
She said it is of utmost importance they continue to protect those sites and that communities help preserve them for generations to come.
Langa ward councillor Samkelo John said it has always wished that Langa Pass office be classified as a heritage site as it was the first township pass office established in the Western Cape by the apartheid government.
John said that office played a key role in telling the painful history of Langa, as the township was built to be a migrant hostel transit camp for only men.
“We are beaming with pride as Langa residents have a heritage site where we can share with others our painful past and the rich heritage of Langa as the oldest township in the Western Cape,” said John.
Bonteheuwel Development Forum chairperson Henriette Abrahams said it was a “great idea” as Freedom Square holds a significant amount of history and memories of the fight against apartheid.
“We have a lot of good and not-so good memories of our central meeting point where we organised, mobilised, planned and celebrated a number of our victories and heritage celebrations,” Abrahams said.
She said Freedom Square also have memories of how people were beaten, tear gassed and imprisoned when having their meetings and running battles with the apartheid security forces.
“It is long overdue and we should have statues of our heroes and heroines of Bonteheuwel erected on Freedom Square of the likes of Christopher Truter, Ashley Kriel, Anton Fransch, Coline Williams, Ma Dora Scott, Mrs Evelyn Holtzman and many others.”
Mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment Marian Nieuwoudt said the provincial heritage council consulted the City on the proposed declarations of the new sites and the City supported their declaration.
“In order to ensure that routine day-to-day maintenance and repair can proceed as normal, the City has requested exemptions from the requirement for a Heritage Western Cape (HWC) s27 permit to be approved for certain activities,” Nieuwoudt said.
She said those will be gazetted by HWC in terms of s48(3) of the National Heritage Resources Act. As such, it is understood that it will be the first such use of the National Heritage Resources Agency heritage management tool in the country.