Other News – Heritage Appeal Tribunal

On 21st November, the Ministerial Heritage Appeal Tribunal met to consider the matter of the River Club Provisional Protection Order. The Order had been appealed in 2018 by the developers, the City, and two provincial departments. In 2018, the Tribunal ordered Heritage Western Cape to complete a consultation process with the appellants and to report back to the Tribunal. This report back was set for November 21st. However, the appellants objected, claiming that the consultation had not been ‘meaningful’ and they sought a postponement of the Hearing. After presentations by various parties on the 21st, the Tribunal agreed that the consultation conducted by Heritage Western Cape had not been sufficient and they asked that HWC go back to effect meaningful consultation and the Tribunal will reconvene in Feb. This means that in the 19 months while the Protection Order has been in place (and under appeal), HWC has still not conducted or even initiated a grading of the River Club site, which was the purpose of the Order. The Order is due to expire in March. The fact that the Tribunal has yet to discuss the merits of the appeal (and by implication, the merits of the Protection Order) and will only convene one month short of the expiry of the Order is a blow. The Tribunal was also notable in that one Khoi chief appears to have switched sides and is now siding with the developers. The Tribunal will convene again on Feb – watch this space.