Arts & Culture minister declares 19 areas as heritage sites in Bo-Kaap

2019-05-01 15:08
(File, Kim Alvelius)

(File, Kim Alvelius)

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Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa on Tuesday announced that a total of 19 areas in Bo-Kaap, Cape Town have been declared heritage sites.

Mthethwa made the announcement at the Bo-Kaap civic centre and told community members that the sites have been gazetted in government’s official notice.

The areas include several mosques, schools, homesteads and the Bo-Kaap museum. In the official gazette notice by the Arts and Culture department they said "The community spirit of Bo-Kaap as described in many historical studies has been carried through the last two centuries by generations of families residing in the area.

"The protection of religious, cultural and architectural heritage of the area is at the fore of the community concerns."

The Bo-Kaap area has been plagued by years of concerns, protests and court challenges over the area being sold to developers for the construction of high-rise buildings.

This was until Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa announced that the historic area be declared a heritage site, with the City of Cape Town expediting the process early this year.

On March 28, the City of Cape Town's council approved the inclusion of the Bo-Kaap area in a Heritage Protection Overlay Zone (HPOZ).

Addressing community members, Mthethwa lambasted those who "came and, like vultures looked to sell Bo-Kaap to the highest bidder". He further said the ANC was against the gentrification of the community.

"We will not rest until we ensure that the very soul of Bo-Kaap is protected," Mthethwa said.

He also thanked members of the Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers Association for not backing down in the face of the area being sold to developers for the construction buildings. 

"I would like to thank the community for organising yourselves so diligently."

The City of Cape Town received over 2000 comments when it proposed the declaration. Of the 2 298 comments, 2 271 supported an HPOZ which would incorporate around 600 privately owned homes.

The HPOZ stretches to the Table Mountain National Park and includes the northern verges to the northwest of Strand Street as well as Buitengracht Street between the intersections with Carisbrook and Strand Street.

Some of the HPOZ objectives are:

- to conserve the Bo-Kaap heritage by encouraging owners to retain and rehabilitate the existing residential buildings;

- to ensure that new developments and alterations to existing buildings complement the historic urban landscape and do not negatively impact the area's heritage;         

- to promote and protect public open spaces and pedestrian movement along the roads and lanes; and       

- to promote the social and cultural traditions and practices where people live outwardly, on the stoeps and sidewalks.

Read more on:    nathi mthethwa  |  cape town

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