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Bo-Kaap residents open to expansion of heritage protection

Ever since the Cape Town property market took off, Bo-Kaap residents have been actively campaigning for national heritage status to protect the area’s unique culture.

The suburb of Bo-Kaap in the Western Cape. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Bo-Kaap residents have said on Thursday they’re happy for the government to expand the protection offered to the historic neighbourhood.

The small suburb is on prime Cape Town land, perched right above the City Centre.

As such, it’s been the perfect place for developers to acquire land and plan new high-rise blocks.

But that is going to get a lot harder since Arts and Culture minister Nathi Mthethwa formally declared 19 areas in Bo-Kaap heritage sites.

Ever since the Cape Town property market took off, Bo-Kaap residents have been actively campaigning for national heritage status to protect the area’s unique culture and ensure the people of the neighbourhood are not displaced by big developments.

The declaration of the 19 areas in the historic neighbourhood is but the first step.

Ben Mwasinga, manager of the Heritage Resource Agency’s Built Environment Unit, said this was just phase one of the process.

“For phase two, we want to expand and look at associated sites. We want to look at people’s individual homes or the collective buildings that make up this unique urban landscape in Cape Town. So, we’re also going to be looking at the streetscape, and how to preserve the cobbled road which also tells the story of the Bo-Kaap.”

There’s a difference between this national declaration and the City of Cape Town’s Heritage Protection Overlay Zone (HPOZ).

The HPOZ is a town planning tool that covers the Bo-Kaap and certain sections around it, making it much harder for developers to build in the area.

The national declaration added more hoops for developers to jump through because if anyone intends on making alterations to any of the 19 new national heritage sites they will have to first go through South African Heritage Resources Agency for a permit.

The sites that have been given national heritage status are:

  • Auwal Masjid

  • Prayer Quarry

  • Tana Baru Burial Ground

  • Stables Site

  • Strand Street Quarry

  • Wash House Quarry

  • Spolander House

  • Schotsche Kloof Primary School

  • St Paul’s Primary School

  • Buitengracht Street Wall

  • Vista High School

  • Schotsche Kloof Homestead

  • Stadzicht Homestead

  • Nurul Islam Masjid

  • Jamia Masjid

  • Masjid Shafee

  • Masjid Boorhanol Islam

  • Nurul Huda Masjid

  • Bo-Kaap Museum

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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