The National Heritage Resources Act

Heritage Western Cape is mandated to implement and enforce the NHRA (25 of 1999) at a provincial level.

Delegations to Staff and Committees
The Council has delegated certain functions to committees and its staff which conduct aspects of its business, specifically relating to applications, reports and other business of HWC under the terms of the National Heritage Resources Act.

Delegations to Municipalities
In terms of Section 6(a)ii of the National Heritage Resources Act. HWC may recognise a municipality as being competent to perform certain functions under the NHRA and in terms of Section 6(c) it may delegate further responsibilities if the municipality is willing to accept them. Where a municipality has not applied for recognition of competency or been delegated powers it may not make decisions concerning heritage resources and is obliged to ensure that HWC has made its decision on the matter prior to granting its own consent for any development or authorisation of plans submitted to it.

In the Western Cape to date only the City of Cape Town has been assessed as being competent to perform certain function under the NHRA. No powers have yet been delegated to a municipality. The effect of the above is that applications for all areas covered by the NHRA must be made to HWC. This includes the City of Cape Town.

Offenses and Penalties

Who is responsible for ensuring that the necessary consents are required in terms of the National Heritage Resources Act?

There is no specific individual who is responsible. It is the duty of all concerned with a project to ensure that a permit or other consent has been acquired. In the case of failure to do this HWC is likely to instigate legal proceedings against all parties involved with a project, including the owner, occupant, contractor, architect, etc.

What are the penalties for ignoring the provisions of the National Heritage Resources Act?

The NHRA has many innovative ways of dealing with those who ignore its provisions. Over and above the usual fines and/or prison sentences, there are among others the following:
- HWC may ask a court to declare equipment, eg: vehicles, construction plant, metal; detectors, etc, used in the commission of a crime forfeit.
- Those who wilfully neglect protected sites, can be forced make repairs and if they fail to do so HWC may undertake the repairs itself and claim the costs from the offender and can do so through a court if necessary.
- Those who damage protected sites can be required to rebuild as per the original, or, if the site is not possible or practical to do this, the value of the damage, will be assessed as a Rand value and the offender penalised accordingly.
- In certain instances offenders can be penalised on an incremental scale for each day that they remain out of compliance.

I suspect that an offence that has been committed in terms of the National Heritage Resources Act. How do I take the matter up?

The Act specifically states that any citizen may lay a charge and we encourage individuals and heritage organisations to do this. If you are unclear on whether or not an offence has been committed you are welcome to seek advice by contacting our office. If you do lay a charge, please inform us of the particulars and case number so that we can follow up and try to ensure that it is properly investigated. Additionally you may inform the Heritage Authority anonymously using the report Illegal work function on this site.

Legislation & Regulations: 

Policy and Guidelines: