The City of Joburg is determined to preserve the integrity of heritage buildings that should be protected and appreciated for their historic value. To do this, it has developed an online Heritage Register to alert property owners if they require heritage approvals from the South African Heritage Agency prior to alterations on those properties.
On the online platform, users will access information on the heritage status of the property, construction date and architect.
Without this information, property owners could fall foul of the Heritage Authority regulations if they commence with construction, especially if the property is older than 60 years, or has been declared a heritage site.
The City has emphasised that in a quest to preserve the city’s heritage, the information on the register also ensures that correct procedures are followed with regards to renovations and restorations.
The development of the Heritage Register is the result of a partnership between the Johannesburg Inner City Partnership (JICP), local heritage groups, and the City of Johannesburg.
MMC of Development Planning Funzela Ngobeni says: “Heritage sites are living monuments and record of certain developments which serves as a real connect to the past.”
He stressed that as seen in many examples around the world, heritage preservation has the potential to boost inner city revitalisation, and attract cultural tourism. “A record of these sites will help create a sense of civic pride and an emotional attachment to place,” adds Ngobeni.
The new system, accessible via www.heritageregister.org.za, will also allow users to see which “flags” or protections apply, and what processes they need to follow and will be useful to other professionals such as City officials, researchers, architects, journalists, tour guides and heritage enthusiasts.