Permits to Modify Historical Buildings | Western Cape Government

Permits to Modify Historical Buildings


To comply with the National Heritage Resources Act, anyone who wishes to modify historical structures must apply to Heritage Western Cape (HWC) for permission. A historical structure is defined as a building older than 60 years.

Heritage Western Cape issues a permit, based on the merits of the application and an environmental impact assessment. This permit takes into account the development planning and zoning regulations of a local authority's Land Use Ordinance. By ensuring that heritage matters are included in impact assessments for proposed developments, developers are able to identify heritage resources. Thus developers will be able to proceed without uncertainty about whether work will be stopped if a heritage resource is discovered.

The permit system addresses a range of heritage resources:

  • archaeological
  • palaeontological sites and meteors
  • architecture
  • ethnographic and decorative art
  • graves and burial grounds, including ancestral and royal graves, graves of traditional leaders, and graves of victims of conflict
  • places of significant historical events, landscapes and natural features of cultural significance;
  • living heritage associated with heritage and oral history, or scientific merit
  • sites relating to the history of slavery in South Africa
  • shipwrecks.

For further details see the websites of Heritage Western Cape and South African Heritage Resource Agency:


Apply for a permit with Heritage Western Cape:


The Chief Executive Officer
Heritage Western Cape
Private Bag X9067
Cape Town

Tel: 021 483 9698
Fax: 021 483 9845
Contact: Dr Mxolisi Dlamuka

Permit applications must be made on the official form: Application to destroy, damage, deface, excavate, alter, remove from its original position, subdivide or change the planning status of a national heritage site, provincial heritage site, provisionally protected place or structure older than 60 years.

Provided by:
Government Body: (Department of Cultural Affairs & Sport, Western Cape Government)
The content on this page was last updated on 17 July 2018