Bo-Kaap approved as heritage site

On Thursday, 28 March, South Africa’s oldest Muslim community, the Bo-Kaap, was officially approved as a protected heritage site. The protection falls under an official Heritage Protection Overlay Zone (HPOZ), which will go into effect once it is published in the Provincial Gazette.

Bo-Kaap. Image credit: Claudio Fonte

This come after a nearly four-year battle to protect the area from property developers looking to build high-rise buildings in the area. The Bo-Kaap is Cape Town’s oldest surviving residential area.

The City’s Executive Mayor, Dan Plato, said, ‘Council’s approval marks a pivotal moment for the Bo-Kaap. Today, the City has officially committed to conserving the unique historical landscape and way of life in the Bo-Kaap by managing development in a sustainable and considered manner.’

He continued, ‘I personally want to thank all of those who have persevered, and I want to commend those who have participated in the recent public participation process for their commitment and constructive contributions. The Bo-Kaap is entering a new chapter where residents and land owners can actively promote it as a heritage tourist destination to the benefit of the local community, as well as the broader Cape Town.’

The City conducted a comprehensive public participation process in January as part of the consideration of the proposal to make the Bo-Kaap area an official heritage site. This included a sector hearing on 9 February where community-based organisations and the business sector made oral presentations. The process concluded on 22 February. In the end, 2,298 comments were received of which 2 271 were in support of the proposal.

‘Evidently, those who participated want the City to protect the Bo-Kaap’s long-term sustainability as a cultural asset. By including the Bo-Kaap in an HPOZ we will ensure that this uniqueness is harnessed and promoted for future generations and visitors,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt.

 

Image source: Claudio Fonte

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