Battle for Bo-Kaap: Heritage protection rules another step closer

2019-03-19 19:59
Bo-Kaap residents gather outside the Western Cape High Court. (Kamva Somdyala, News24)

Bo-Kaap residents gather outside the Western Cape High Court. (Kamva Somdyala, News24)

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The report to declare Bo-Kaap a heritage protection overlay zone (HPOZ) has been finalised and will be sent to the City of Cape Town's council for approval on March 28.

The main purpose of an HPOZ is to prevent inappropriate development and alterations within an area of significant heritage value.

The City's next move will be determined by the council's decision after more than 2 000 submissions were received from the public.

In December, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa said a process to declare the area a heritage site had to begin early this year. The City of Cape Town responded to the directive from the minister and opened public comments on how to protect the community's heritage and character as developers clamoured for prime land in the suburb on the slopes of Signal Hill.

READ: Bo-Kaap to be declared national heritage site - Nathi Mthethwa

The announcement by Mthethwa followed years of concerns, protests and court challenges over the area being sold to developers for the construction of high-rise buildings. 

"The HPOZ for the Bo-Kaap will only become effective should council accept the report and agree with the proposal," said the City's member of the mayoral committee for spatial planning and environment, Marian Nieuwoudt.

"We've received 2 298 comments of which 2 271 are in support of the proposed HPOZ. The officials are still busy assessing the submissions, but I can confirm that at least 640 of the comments in support of the proposal were submitted by residents and affected parties from within the Bo-Kaap itself."

Bo-Kaap gets boost through City's proposed heritage protection rules

The battle for the protection of Cape Town's Bo-Kaap received a boost after the mayor announced a proposal to have the historic quarter declared a Heritage Protection Overlay Zone.

The proposed HPOZ for the Bo-Kaap extends to the Table Mountain National Park, and includes the northern green verges to the north-west of Strand Street as well as Buitengracht Street between the intersections with Carisbrook and Strand Street.

"The proposed HPOZ will have an impact on all of those who own property in the Bo-Kaap, in particular as it relates to new developments, restorations, and the maintenance and alteration of properties," added Nieuwoudt. 

More than 600 privately owned properties in the Bo-Kaap will be affected by the City's proposed HPOZ.

The HPOZ also allows the City to impose conditions to the approval to ensure that the heritage value of the building or site is protected or enhanced.

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