Minister Marais declares Princess Vlei Eco Park a Provincial Heritage Site
Today, 12 October 2021, Minister Anroux Marais officially unveiled the Provincial Heritage Site plaque at Princess Vlei Eco Park, off the M5 in Retreat.
Together with the expert assistance of Heritage Western Cape, the City of Cape Town’s facilitation and valued input from the Western Cape Khoisan leadership to the Princess Vlei Forum Heritage Committee, the cultural, spiritual, recreational and environmental significance of this site will now be promoted in the public domain as a Provincial Heritage Site.
As a result of in-depth research and following the relevant official processes, the historical heritage significance of Princess Vlei can now be highlighted as it represents a unique landscape of peoples’ identity which is considered exceptionally important and desirable by the community as a heritage resource.
During the keynote address, Minister Marais said, “Princess Vlei is a significant natural heritage resource that has high historical social value as it represents the living expression of the historic evolution of the Khoi and San from past to present. The evolution of this people of great significance is intrinsically associated with the sense of place within the cultural landscape of this part of the city. Its geographical location as a natural gateway to the south contributes significantly to its aesthetic value within the community. The sense of place of the wetland system extending through Grassy Park to Strandfontein enables an ecological stepping-stone that contributes to environmental value as a biodiversity benchmark site.
"In accordance with the community's vision of creating a nature and heritage park, we thank the Forum for focusing and promoting the heritage significance of the Vlei as heritage resource within the province. It is this resurgence of Indigenous Cultural Movements that has occupied a unique space within the communities’ cultural significance. The strong and special association represented by the spiritual historical connections of indigenous people is reflected in the cultural practices still practiced at Princess Vlei today”.
“The City believes in working with the community and giving agency to organisations and residents who work with us to protect the natural and cultural heritage of Cape Town. The Recreation and Parks Department formalised an agreement with the Princess Vlei Forum that allows the organisation to use and maintain the space and give them an equal voice in the daily management of the Vlei. As a City, we are all celebrating the Heritage Recognition, and I hope that more residents take advantage of the leisure and rest the Vlei offers,” said councillor Zahid Badroodien, Community Services and Health Member of Mayoral Committee.
The Provincial Heritage Site status will now clearly communicate that the heritage community and agencies consider this site to be a major and important heritage asset that warrants serious and focussed conservation attention from all parties. The declaration of Princess Vlei as a Provincial Heritage Site will now also acknowledge the community’s sense of place and purpose and unleashes its potential to yield information contributing to a wider understanding of the history of co-existence in the Western Cape and country at large. This is indeed welcomed by the Western Cape Government as the value of Princess Vlei lies in its historical nature, amplified by its cultural, spiritual, recreational and environmental significance.
Spokesperson for the Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais
083 504 1171