Cape Town - The Salt River Heritage Society (SRHS) has started a petition to declare the Salt River Railway Institute hall a provincial heritage site.
The SRHS said it had designated the Salt River Railway Institute and the broader Salt River Market area as having significant historical value, and were thus nominating them to be declared provincial heritage sites in terms of section 27 of the SA Heritage Act 25 of 1999.
SRHS founder Shabodien Roomanay said: “This is really an iconic building; it served as a meeting point for
activists back in the apartheid era
and for religious sermons and weddings.
“As the heritage society we are lobbying for the City to allow us
to preserve the hall and the space so that we can transform it into a museum.”
The hall is located on the Salt River Market site, the same site the City has rezoned for a mixed-use development.
The SRHS is calling on the public to sign the petition - so far they have over 400 signatures.
The site will provide 723 residential units, of which 216 will be social housing opportunities for qualifying beneficiaries, as well as business premises, informal trading and 119 parking bays. Development of the Salt River site will take five years to complete.
“We welcome the development but what we want is for the hall to be preserved. It has a huge significance in the Salt River area,” Roomanay said.
An artist’s impression of the proposed development. Picture: Supplied
Mayco member for community services and health Zahid Badroodien said: “On February 14 I had a telephone conversation with Roomanay.
“We discussed his vision to have the history of the community to be recognised.
“I had committed to meeting with the SRHS to discuss their vision.
“They committed to sending through additional information relating to their proposal.”
The SRHS said it had also been in frequent contact with Sports
and Cultural Affairs MEC Anroux Marais.
She welcomed the requests to declare provincial heritage site status to landscapes, sites, buildings and structures that are of significance to the people of the Western Cape.
“I encourage the Salt River Heritage Society to draft and deliver their
submission to Heritage Western Cape, the public entity tasked with identifying, protecting and conserving our heritage resources in the province to ensure they are promoted and conserved for generations to come,” Marais said.