Declare Two Rivers Urban Park and Bo-Kaap Unesco heritage sites

The Department of Transport and Public Works said the River Club site, Two Rivers Urban Park, has been protected by the National Heritage Resources Act’s general protections and by the Heritage Impact Assessment process undertaken by the Liesbeek Leisure Property Trust since February 2017. File photo: African News Agency (ANA) Archives

NEWS / 27 NOVEMBER 2018, 4:31PM

The ANC Western Cape has called for Two Rivers Urban Park (River Club site) and the Bo-Kaap to be declared Unesco Heritage Sites.

In a statement, it said it believes this is the only way in which an area of historical and cultural significance such as the Bo-Kaap can be preserved for generations to come.

The provincial ANC made this plea during its presentation to the Ministerial Appeals Tribunal (MAT) on the appeal against a decision by Heritage Western Cape to provisionally protect Erf 1518320 (Two Rivers Urban Park) on Tuesday.

Provincial executive committee member Lionel Adendorf, who made the presentation, said: “The ANC wishes to indicate at the onset that while we support the decision by Heritage Western Cape to provisionally protect Erf 151832 for a maximum period of two years, we are of the opinion that some parts and areas of Erf 151832 should be declared a permanent national heritage site (Grade 1), with certain other parts declared provincial heritage sites (Grade 2) and, depending on the outcome of further investigations, that an application be made to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation to have the areas (including Bo-Kaap) declared Unesco World Heritage Sites.”

“This, we believe, is the only way in which this area of historical and cultural significance can be preserved for generations to come due to the fact that it ‘has high cultural value of historical, social aesthetic, architectural, scientific and environmental significance’.

“We understand that any of the two routes outlined above would not be easy and not be without any resistance from the provincial government.

“If several provincial government departments can set up a fight over the provisional protection of the area for two years, we can justifiably anticipate an even bigger fight to have the area declared a national heritage site.”

The MAT has been hearing submissions from the appellants and interested parties and is expected to make a decision on the matter within the next two weeks.

The ANC in the Western Cape also raised serious concerns about the notice issued on August 27 by the City of Cape Town’s Transport and Urban Development Authority, which sought public comment on the “proposed application for rezoning, approval of council and deviations from city policies in terms of the City of Cape Town Municipal Planning By-law in respect of Erf 151832”.

The intention from the City of Cape Town, according to the document, is to “accommodate a mixed-use development of 150 000 square metres, comprising retail shops and restaurants, offices, dwelling units, a hotel and places of instruction”.

“While this process is still ongoing and has not even been concluded yet, the City of Cape Town is already planning and acting as if Heritage Western Cape has made a decision on the matter already.

“How do we instil respect for government processes, restore trust in public authorities and engage communities in honesty when authorities are engaged in the most reckless and devious operations imaginable?” Adendorf said.

The ANC reiterated its support efforts by Heritage Western Cape to preserve and protect the heritage of all, supports its decision on Erf 151832 and further supports all efforts from different roleplayers to have the site declared a national and provincial heritage site.

“As a result, we urged the MAT to dismiss the appeal by the appellants as time-wasting, without any merit or legal basis and to send the excavators and developers back.”