Heritage Resources in the Stellenbosch Municipality – Heritage Inventory and Management Plan

CAPE WINELANDS PROFESSIONAL PRACTICES IN ASSOCIATION

(Fabio Todeschini and Liana Jansen)

Our General Approach                                                                                                         September 2016

Stellenbosch Municipality has a deep history and a rich and varied heritage. Our identity as individuals (who we are) and as part of a community (where we belong) is based on our relationship to the environment around us, often called a ‘sense of place’. Human activities have been imprinted on the natural landscapes over a very long time, and in many different ways. There are many physical and social contexts and developmental histories that produced these ‘cultural’ landscapes. Our approach is to
understand how places became as they are today, which elements are important and why, and how to protect and manage them.

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We follow international best standards for heritage resources identification. It is important to acknowledge the strong link between conservation and development and the implications for managing heritage resources. We strongly promote the principle that the heritage resources identification process must be inclusive and must squarely address the question: whose heritage? We wish to represent the values and opinions of all participants in the project, so that protected heritage resources within the Municipality come to genuinely reflect our complex and disparate society. Thus, we see two dimensions in our approach: On the one hand a series of spatial overviews of heritage resources, and on the other hand a range of social values, narratives and voices. The results are graphics and data for understanding both the large scale, place-defined, area-based landscapes (top down),
and very individual or site-specific features (bottom-up). As shown in figure 1, the project area is vast and varied, and is characterised by distinctive wilderness, rural and urban domains. It features rugged mountain ranges and many valleys that have been adapted to settlement in varied forms by many people over long periods of time.

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The river valleys, from the largest (Eerste River Valley) to the smallest (Ida’s Valley) are typical ‘cultural landscapes’. They are significant because they are economically productive as well as being scenic and tourist resources of great national and international status. For example, Ida’s Valley was declared a National Heritage Site in 2004, some Municipal areas are part of the proposed Cape Winelands Cultural Landscapes inscribed on the World Heritage Sites tentative list by UNESCO. Stellenbosch itself is a renowned tourist destination. Tourism is a critical economic driver that depends on the protection of authentic scenic landscape and townscape qualities. It could be said that heritage characterises most of the Stellenbosch Municipal area.

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The Team

The principals for the project are Fabio Todeschini and Liana Jansen. They bring professional architecture, landscape architecture, city planning, urban design and heritage resources management knowledge and skills. They have both done much work in the Western Cape and in the Stellenbosch area.

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Consultants to the principals include: Dr. Antonia Malan, a historical archaeologist who has researched in and published extensively on the Western Cape; Tracey Randall, a cultural historian who has researched and worked amongst underprivileged communities in the Municipal area for years; Shawn Johnston of Sustainable Futures ZA, who has much experience in public participation in many projects; Simon Nicks of CNdV Africa, who is engaged in a parallel and co-ordinated Rural Areas Plan; and Cedar Tower Services who are providing expert Georgraphic Information System services. The Team reports to a Municipal Steering Committee comprised of Officials as well as other Professional individuals who have extensive experience and add value to the project. Moreover, we have been fortunate in having been invited to place project material on the website of the Stellenbosch Heritage Foundation: (http://www.stellenboschheritage.co.za/)

Legislative Requirements and Implications

The National Heritage Resources Act (Act 25 of 1999) (NHRA) required all municipalities to undertake or update inventories of the heritage resources in the area of their jurisdiction within 10 years (Sect. 9(3)(c)). A Heritage Inventory is specifically required in terms of Sect. 30(5), of the
NHRA: “At the time of the compilation or revision of a town or regional planning scheme or a spatial development plan, or at any other time of its choosing, or at the initiative of a provincial heritage resources authority where in the opinion of a provincial heritage resources authority the need exists, a planning authority shall compile an inventory of the heritage resources which fall within its area of jurisdiction and submit such inventory to the relevant provincial heritage resources authority, which shall list in the heritage register those heritage resources which fulfill the assessment criteria …”. In early 2016 the Stellenbosch Municipality contracted us to prepare an inventory and management plan, so that the municipality complies with the law. In April 2016 we provided a Phase I report entitled “Approach, Concepts, Method and Preliminary Findings”. This document is available to all and can be downloaded from the mentioned Stellenbosch Heritage Foundation website.The next procedure is to prepare a draft Inventory of all heritage resources that currently exist in the Stellenbosch Municipal Area. This will be submitted to Heritage Western Cape (HWC) for approval. Then, all identified Grade II and Grade III heritage resources will be included in the Provincial Heritage Register (Sect. 30). We are also required to submit an inventory of any proposed Grade I heritage resources to the South African Heritage Resources Authority (SAHRA), for their approval.

Stellenbosch Municipality organised a project coordination meeting on 1 September 2016, and it become apparent that if the municipality is to be compliant with S.30(5) of the NHRA (above), it cannot get approval of its new Spatial Development Plan by the deadline of June 2017 without the Heritage Inventory. Therefore, to assist the Municipality, we have changed the phasing for our project as follows:

• Phase 1: Initiation and Planning – Jan-April ‘16
• Phase 2: Survey and Inventory – May ‘16-Jul ‘17
• Phase 3: Inventory Report – Aug- Nov ‘17
• Phase 4: Management Plan – Dec ‘17- April ‘18
• Phase 5: Municipal Staff Training – May-July ‘18

 

Why and How You Should Get Involved                                                 

The people who live and work in a place have first-hand knowledge and experience of that area and know where to find people with local memories. We warmly invite your help so that you, and/or your organisation, may make a contribution to this project.  Click here to participate in our Heritage Survey. We have already met some of you at six local Focus Group presentations and discussions. If not, please contact us. You will be invited to take part in workshops to be held as the project progresses.

PLEASE CONTACT Shawn Johnston of
Sustainable Futures ZA at:  swjohnston@mweb.co.za.

We also encourage you to consult the Stellenbosch Heritage Foundation web site to learn more about what is going on in heritage circles, and to register as an interested and affected party. Documents are available there and can be downloaded.

Heritage is a valuable asset for all – let’s cherish and protect it

Click here to read the article in Xhosa.

Click here to read the article in Afrikaans.