Heritage is Often Overlooked
Heritage resources are protected. They may not be disturbed without a permit from the relevant heritage resources authority.
Do you know what Heritage is, and how to deal with it? Did you know that you have to notify the SAHRA or responsible heritage resources authority in the early stages of initiating a linear project, the construction of a bridge, clearing or earthmoving activities and rezoning, if they exceed certain thresholds?
The applicable section taken from the National Heritage Resources Act, 1999 (Act No. 25 of 1999) reads as follows:
Heritage resources management
38. (1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (7), (8) and (9), any person who intends to undertake a development
One may be able to argue that the modification, alteration, expansion or reconstruction of a road, wall, powerline, pipeline, canal, bridge or other similar developments are exempt from the requirement to notify the SAHRA if you consider that these activities are excluded from the definition of ‘construction in terms of Listing Notice 1, GN No. R.544, GG No. 33306, 18th June, 2010, which means the building, erection or establishment of a facility, structure or infrastructure that is necessary for the undertaking of a listed or specified activity but excludes any modification, alteration or expansion of such a facility, structure or infrastructure and excluding the reconstruction of the same facility in the same location, with the same capacity and footprint.
Once notified, the SAHRA may request that suitably qualified practitioners compile a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) report inclusive of an assessment of impacts to archaeological and palaeontological resources.
Alternatively, before any development proposed in terms of NEMA (Act 107 of 1998) is approved, it is incumbent on the developer to ensure that a HIA is done that satisfies Section 38(3) of the NHRA. The completed HIA report must identify all archaeological and palaeontological resources, assess their significance and make recommendations about what mitigation may be required. The completed report must be submitted to SAHRA for assessment. Appropriate mitigation, which involves recording, sampling and dating sites that are to be destroyed, may be required depending on the nature and significance of the resources identified.
Who do I notify?
In KZN, the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape, the functioning Provincial Heritage Resources Authorities must be approached regarding their process in terms of Section 38 applications. The SAHRA must be notified for the remaining provinces.
How do I notify the SAHRA?
As of 31st March, 2013, the SAHRA no longer accept requests for comment or decisions in terms of Section 38 of the NHRA, 1999 (Act No. 25 of
1999) in hardcopy format. All submissions must be made to SAHRA by Environmental Assessment Practitioner’s via SAHRIS from the 01st April, 2013.
What is SAHRIS?
The SAHRA has recently migrated all of its applications to the national online heritage management system, South African Heritage Resources Information System (SAHRIS).
To register as a new applicant on SAHRIS, if you have not done so already, navigate to the SAHRA homepage, http://www.sahra.org.za. Simply click on the log in/register link above the SAHRA banner, click on create 'new account' and follow the steps to register on SAHRIS. Please create your username in this format: first name. surname (e.g. john.doe). Once you have created a user account you need to link a profile to it. If you have already dealt with SAHRA in the past it is possible that your profile already exists - go to http://www.sahra.org.za/search/site/?f=bundle%3Apeople and enter your name with 'Retain filters' checked. If your name comes up then please message your case officer or Nic Wiltshire to link your profile to your user account. You will be granted authorship rights to your profile so that you can update your own information going forward. If your name does not appear, simply go to My Account, then click on CREATE A PROFILE. Fill in the various fields and save your profile - you will notice a new block on the right hand side of your account describing your profile.
A series of tutorials has been uploaded to guide users on registering and uploading cases. These are available at: www.sahra.org.za/sahris
(or click on the SAHRIS menu link on the front page of the SAHRA website). If you are uploading project information, please ensure that you do
not create duplicate cases on the system by performing a keyword search to see if any part of the project has already been uploaded or by
checking the maps (http://www.sahra.org.za/map/reports or
The system will also allow you to view other developments near your project area as well as the heritage reports compiled for those projects and SAHRA's communications with those applicants.
What is Heritage?
Categories of heritage resources include, inter alia:
What must I do if I find a Heritage Resource?