Heritage buildings in the Western Cape | Western Cape Government

Heritage buildings in the Western Cape

Old Nectar Jonkershoek

The Western Cape has a proud architectural history. Our province has many historical homes and buildings that offer a glimpse into our architectural history and adds to our heritage.
 

In the Western Cape, there’s a variety of heritage properties ranging in style from Cape Dutch to bold Art Deco. Registering a heritage property with Heritage Western Cape helps to keep a database of all heritage properties,  ensuring the preservation of our cultural and architectural heritage.

Identifying, protecting and maintaining these heritage resources will ensure that they are promoted and conserved for generations to come.

Owning a heritage property holds considerable appeal and will add tremendous value to your property. If you believe that you may own a heritage property and would like to register it, here’s how you can do it.

What is a heritage property?

Any structure older than 60 years is protected by the National Heritage Resources Act. Heritage properties are managed and graded by Heritage Western Cape (HWC) and the South African Heritage Resource Agency (SAHRA).

Heritage buildings are divided into different categories and sub-categories to determine their importance and which authority will manage it:

Grading

Description of Resource

Examples of Possible Management Strategies

Heritage Significance

I

Heritage resources with qualities so exceptional that they are of special national significance. Current examples: Robben Island

May be declared as a National Heritage Site managed by SAHRA.

Highest Significance

II

Heritage resources with special qualities which make them significant in the context of a province or region, but don't fulfil the criteria for Grade I status. Current examples: St George’s Cathedral, Community House

May be declared as a Provincial Heritage Site managed by HWC.

Exceptionally High Significance

III

Such a resource contributes to the environmental quality or cultural significance of a larger area and fulfils one of the criteria set out in section 3(3) of the Act but that doesn't fulfill the criteria for Grade II status. Grade III sites may be formally protected by placement on the Heritage Register. These resources are currently managed by HWC unless the local authority has been found competent and has been granted delegated authority.

IIIA

Such a resource must be an excellent example of its kind or must be sufficiently rare. These are heritage resources which are significant in the context of an area.

This grading is applied to buildings and sites that have sufficient intrinsic significance to be regarded as local heritage resources; and are significant enough to warrant that any alteration, both internal and external, is regulated. Such buildings and sites may be representative, being excellent examples of their kind, or may be rare. In either case, they should receive maximum protection at local level.

High Significance

IIIB

Such a resource might have similar significances to those of a Grade III A resource, but to a lesser degree. These are heritage resources which are significant in the context of a townscape, neighbourhood, settlement or community.

This grading is applied to buildings and/or sites whose significance is contextual, i.e. in large part due to its contribution to the character or significance of the environs. These buildings and sites should, as a consequence, only be regulated if the significance of the environs is sufficient to warrant protective measures, regardless of whether the site falls within a Conservation or Heritage Area. Internal alterations shouldn't necessarily be regulated.

Medium Significance

IIIC

Such a resource is contributing significantly to the environs. These are heritage resources which are significant in the context of a streetscape or direct neighbourhood.

This grading is applied to buildings and/or sites whose significance is contextual, i.e. in large part due to its contribution to the character or significance of the environs. These buildings and sites should, as a consequence, only be regulated if the significance of the environs is sufficient to warrant protective measures, regardless of whether the site falls within a Conservation or Heritage Area. Internal alterations shouldn't necessarily be regulated.

Low Significance

Not Conservation Worthy (NCW)

A resource that, after appropriate investigation, has been determined to not have enough heritage significance to be retained as part of the National Estate.

No further actions under the NHRA are required. This must be motivated by the applicant and approved by the authority. Section 34 can even be lifted by HWC for structures in this category if they are older than 60 years.

No research potential or other cultural significance

 

Melbourne Terrace, Woodstock, Cape Town

How to apply for heritage status

When you apply for heritage status, you will have to prove the following:

  • That the building is important in the community or played a role in that community’s history.
  • That it has a strong or special association with the life or work of a person, group or organization of importance in history.
  • That there is significance relating to the history of slavery.
  • That it’s important in exhibiting particular aesthetic characteristics valued by a community or cultural group.
  • That it has the potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of natural or cultural heritage.
  • That it's important in demonstrating a high degree of creative or technical achievement at a particular period.
  • That it has a strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group for social, cultural or spiritual reasons.
  • That it possesses uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of natural or cultural heritage.
  • That it’s important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a particular class of natural or cultural places or objects.

Applications can be made through Heritage Western Cape, the provincial heritage resources authority. Heritage Western Cape is responsible for identifying, protecting and conserving the rich and diverse heritage resources of the Western Cape. 

To nominate a heritage building you will first have to complete the provincial heritage site nomination application form.

This form precedes the submission of the ‘nomination document’ and is designed to assist with the grading of heritage resources in terms Section 3(3) of the NHRA, as part of the process of declaration as a Provincial Heritage Site (Section 27). Nominated heritage resources that are of special provincial significance will be graded as Grade 2 and considered for Provincial Heritage Site status.

The following documentation is required upon submission:

  1. Completed signed application form.
  2. Digital copies of all required documents on CD or USB – USB’s aren't returned.

When applying for heritage status you will need the following documentation for your application:

  • Motivation for declaration as a Provincial Heritage Site, including potential, threats and vulnerabilities;
  • Short history of the place;
  • Physical description of the heritage resource;
  • Locality plan (map) and site plan;
  • Photographs and plans;
  • List of moveable objects relating to the site that is proposed as part of a nomination, or for the archaeological or palaeontological site; list of repositories where these are housed;
  • Bibliography of documentation relating to the heritage resource;
  • Statement of current protections and restrictions (e.g. previous national monument; register of immovable property; conservation area; current zoning; servitudes);
  • List any heritage organizations consulted and their comments on the proposed nomination.
  • Site Plan (with proposed site boundaries);
  • Conservation or management plans (send immediately if any exist);
  • Heritage Agreement (if required).

Once your application has been made, the site will be examined to determine whether or not the building is a heritage site and then graded accordingly.

Cape country cottage, Towerwater, Bonnievale

Application to renovate a heritage building

Once your building has been declared a heritage site you will have to receive approval from Heritage Western Cape in order to make any changes or renovations to it. This includes:

  • Destroying
  • Damaging
  • Defacing
  • Excavating
  • Altering or removing from its original position
  • Subdividing, or
  • change the planning status of a provisionally protected or a heritage area and/ or alter or demolish any structure or part of a structure older than 60 years.

If you would like to renovate a heritage property, here’s how you can do it:

  1. Email hwc.hwc@westerncape.gov.za, provide the address and erf/farm number of the site, a summary of the proposed work and the contact details of the applicant.
  2. HWC will respond with a reference number
  3. Please use this reference number when making the required payment.
  4. Complete the relevant application form.
  5. Submit all required information to HWC.
  6. Your application will be assigned to a Heritage Officer to process.
  7. Please wait 10 working days before contacting HWC regarding your applications progress.
  8. Please note that our counter opens for submissions and queries weekdays from 9am to 12pm.

Please note that all submissions must be made in hard copy to the Heritage Western Cape offices.
3rd Floor, Protea Assurance Building
Green Market Square
Cape Town

For more information regarding applying for heritage status, contact Heritage Western Cape:

E-mail: ceoheritage@westerncape.gov.za
Telephone: 021 483 9598
Fax: 021 483 9845
Street Address: 3rd Floor, Protea Assurance Building, Greenmarket Square, Cape Town, 8000
Postal Address: Heritage Resource Council, Private Bag X9067, Cape Town, 8000

Heritage Buildings Infographic

The content on this page was last updated on 20 May 2019