Heritage status for Bo-Kaap?

Heritage status for Bo-Kaap could be on the cards.

Bo-Kaap residents could soon get what they’ve been calling for over the last few months – heritage protection.

This comes after mayor Dan Plato announced that the mayoral committee resolved to support the designation of the Bo-Kaap as a Heritage Protection Overlay Zone (HPOZ).

He made the recommendation that council approves a public participation process for the proposal at its next meeting.

Bo-Kaap residents have been furiously protesting against developments in their area and demanding that the area is declared as a heritage site.

The community had previously alleged that there is a lack of transparency in the City’s approach to public participation when it comes to developments in the Bo-Kaap.

Early last month, it emerged that former mayor Patricia de Lille, had a hand in preventing Bo-Kaap from being declared a heritage area ( “MJC takes aim at De Lille”, Atlantic Sun, Nov 8).

Last Tuesday, December 4, Mr Plato announced that public participation was recommended for the overlay zone to protect Bo-Kaap heritage.

“The City is committed to preserving and celebrating the rich and diverse cultures and heritage of our communities, and I feel privileged today to share in the mayoral committee’s decision to initiate the process to provide the Bo-Kaap with the heritage protection that it deserves,” he said.

He said the Bo-Kaap was one of the most iconic areas with its rich history and unique architecture. “Many Bo-Kaap families have been living there for generations, and have contributed significantly to our cultural heritage. The City recognises that this heritage should be protected,” he said.

Mr Plato went to say that it was regrettable that this matter had been delayed for so long since the then ward councillor Dave Bryant first proposed an HPOZ for the Bo-Kaap via a motion to Sub-council 16 in 2013.

He said in 2016 the process was halted and the HPOZ for the Bo-Kaap was put on hold indefinitely. This year, Ward 77 councillor, Brandon Golding, submitted another motion to Sub-council 16 requesting that the HPOZ for the Bo-Kaap is implemented with immediate effect and that reasons be given for the delay. “Due to the period of time that has passed, officials from the City’s heritage management department have advised that a new round of public participation will need to take place. We want to ensure that we follow due process and that we do not cut corners in dealing with this very serious matter,” he said.

Responding to the City’s latest move on the matter, the secretary of the Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers’ Association (BKCRA), Jacky Poking, said they welcomed the announcement but they did question the motives of the mayor in making this announcement.

“We met with him and some mayoral committee members as well as councillors Golding and Bryant. The meeting was to give clarity regarding the announcement of opening the public participation on the HPOZ and that its due to legalities and not a delaying tactic,” she said.

Ms Poking said they have explained the community ‘s suspicions and frustrations to the mayor about the delay of the HPOZ and this additional round of public participation. “The mayor committed to a timeline that includes a 30-day public participation period. Beyond this discussion, other matters were raised regarding the communitiy’s frustration in the way the City has been treating Bo-Kaap,” she said.

She said a list of requirements handed to Mr Golding during the protests in May 2018 would be looked at in earnest.

She said the mayor has made a commitment to a partnership on projects, which would be assessed and prepared by the civic association and Mr Golding within the next week.

“In the interim we ask the community and the public, the more than 35 000 people who signed the online petition for the HPOZ for Bo-Kaap, to continue to use their voices and power when the public participation opens and help ensure Bo-Kaap gets its HPOZ as soon as possible,” she said.

Mr Plato said the HPOZ ensures that where there is development, it is sensitive to the area’s architecture, community, and history. The HPOZ applies to all areas covered by the overlay and in this case, it is proposed that the Bo-Kaap Heritage Protection Overlay extends from Carisbrook Street to Strand Street, and from the foot of Lion’s Head/Signal Hill to Buitengracht

It does not prevent development from taking place. The zoning of a property includes both the base zoning and overlay zoning and, as such, the HPOZ requires the City to consider, in addition to the base zoning, the impact on heritage significance where alterations, consolidations, demolitions, or new developments are proposed on properties that fall within the HPOZ.