Adv. Gesie van Deventer
Executive Mayor of Stellenbosch Municipality
19 September 2018
The Stellenbosch Municipality is leaving no stone unturned in its pursuit to identify and preserve its rich and diverse heritage. Towards the end of 2015 the Municipality, through the Cape Winelands Professional Practices in Association (Pty) Ltd., launched a ground-breaking Heritage Project that seeks to identify, classify and map the full heritage of every corner of our landscape.
This in-depth mapping of our cultural and environmental heritage is the first of its kind in Africa and is considered to be one of only five similar studies worldwide. It will produce an advanced Heritage Inventory that identifies all heritage resources and measures their significance. The inventory will be a living document that can be expanded when required and will inform our Conservation Management Plan (CMP) to ensure compliance with the National Heritage Resources Act.
The value of our heritage resources has been highlighted repeatedly since 2009, when the Cape Winelands was placed on the UNESCO Tentative List of World Heritage Sites. It is also a major contributing factor to our local economy.
The Stellenbosch Municipal area is dotted with a wide array of sites that are of great cultural, environmental and historical significance. Diverse peoples have long inhabited these iconic valleys, each leaving their own mark on the landscape and on history – a history that must be preserved for future generations. Due to the complex evolution of our landscape over many centuries and the historical factors involved, a key to the Heritage Project method has been to devise ways of analysis and synthesis across ‘nature’ and ‘culture’ and at different scales of consideration.
The project is thus comprised of five phases:
• Phase 1: Concepts and Method;
• Phase 2: Survey and Draft Heritage Inventory;
• Phase 3: Report on the Draft Heritage Inventory;
• Phase 4: Draft Conservation Management Plan (CMP);
• Phase 5: Training of municipal staff.
Phases one, two and three have been successfully completed following public participation processes and the reports have been approved by Heritage Western Cape. Phase 3 produced a consolidated, interactive online map of all Heritage Resources, with links to detailed heritage significance sheets for every Landscape Unit, Townscape Unit as well as individual Heritage Sites and Structures. The reports were made public and were approved by Heritage Western Cape in May 2018. All reports and relevant documentation is available from the Stellenbosch Heritage Foundation’s website: www.stellenboschheritage.co.za/cape-winelands-heritage-survey-2
The CMP is the next phase of the project and maps out a process for the municipality to manage its heritage resources in a rational, systematic and practical way that will protect features of cultural significance, while ensuring that continued informed development of the cultural landscape can occur. It will assist municipal officials in their assessment of development applications, to ensure that their decisions recognise heritage significance and promote constructive action to maintain such significance. We look forward to receiving the inputs and proposals of our residents when the CMP is presented for public comment later this year. We invite the public to partner with us, ensuring that their perspectives of the cultural significance of the townscapes and landscapes are incorporated into the final plan.
Mayor van Deventer said “the Heritage Project shows that Stellenbosch is a Municipality that truly cares about its heritage. We have revolutionised the way that local governments view heritage preservation and believe that our approach will make us an example of national and international best practice. Our methods demonstrate our firm commitment to heritage conservation and the continued informed development of our shared cultural landscape.”