Historical monuments and renovation restrictions

South Africa has a diverse and rich history, represented in the buildings that have been built throughout the years. To ensure their lasting value and to preserve this legacy, these buildings are protected through legislation that regulates and restricts renovations and alterations made to buildings classified as historical monuments.

The ins and outs of subject to bond approval clauses

Legislation protecting South Africa’s heritage

Any building that is older than 60 years is considered a heritage site or historical building, and as such forms part of the national estate. The National Heritage Resources Act, 29 of 1999, aims to ensure the good management of the national estate and to motivate communities to conserve South Africa’s common heritage for future generations.

The South African Heritage Resources Agency has been tasked with and is required to compile and maintain an inventory of this national estate, as dictated in Section 39 of the Act, which serves as a database of information on heritage resources.

It is possible to approach the South African Resources Agency in order to determine whether a particular building forms part of the national estate. This information is valuable prior to planning any alterations so as to follow the correct process for these plans being approved.

Altering a historical monument – the process

According to the Act, any building older than 60 years may not be demolished or altered without a permit issued by the relevant provincial heritage resources authority.

In order to obtain this permit, application must be made to the relevant local department of arts, culture and heritage services. Included in the application should be designs by an architectural expert, providing recommendations regarding the demolition and/or alteration to the exterior or interior of the building. The proposed alteration should also be shown in a colour overlay on the original plans.

The building will then be assessed to determine its historical value, which may also include a report from an architect or other professional where deemed necessary.

In determining whether the proposed alterations should be approved, this authority will consider the cultural significance of the building, whether it is a valuable example of a specific architectural style or achievement, and whether the loss due to the alteration or demolition is outweighed by the benefits of this change. However, there are no stringent rules when it comes to these considerations, and the approval process is at the discretion of the relevant local heritage authority.

Based on the outcome of the assessment, approval may be given and the alterations may proceed.

Failing to follow the process

The National Heritage Resources Act clearly states that no person may alter or demolish any structure, or part of a structure, which is older than 60 years without a permit issued by the relevant provincial heritage resources authority.

Failing to obtain the necessary approval prior to implementing any alterations is therefore in direct contravention of this legislation and will result in penalties as set out in the Act. These penalties range from fines and reversing any alterations to completely reinstating a demolished building and even imprisonment.

Following the correct process is naturally the best course of action, and consulting the relevant authorities and professionals should form part of the initial stage should any alteration be desired in order to avoid these negative consequences.

Follow Snymans on Facebook for more legal advice, information and news about property.

Recommended for you

Amendments to the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA)
Legislative Guidelines

The FIC Act: How it’s tackling money laundering in South Africa[post_view before=""]

The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) defines money laundering as “the process used by criminals to hide, conceal or disguise the nature, source, location, disposition or movement of the proceeds of unlawful activities or any interest which anyone has in such proceeds.”

Read More
Minors and immovable property
Legislative Guidelines

Court ruling: The applicability of the Consumer Protection Act in rental agreements[post_view before=""]

In the recently decided case of Magic Vending (Pty) Ltd vs N Tambwe and two other occupants of a rental house in Wynberg, the Western Cape Division of the High Court was asked to rule on a) whether the Consumer Protection Act applied to the case in question and b) whether the enforcement of the forfeiture clause contained in clause 14 of the lease agreement was contrary to public policy.

Read More
Minors and immovable property
Legislative Guidelines

Non-resident sellers: Make sure you comply with SARS requirements[post_view before=""]

Non-resident property sellers should be aware of the requirements of section 35A of the Income Tax Act 58 of 1962. The section stipulates that an amount equal to 5% (individuals), 10% (companies) or 15% (trusts) of the proceeds of a sale of immovable property must be withheld and paid over to SARS within 14 days after “the date on which the amount was so withheld” – this is typically the date of registration of transfer. An exception is if the parties agree that the purchase price be paid before registration, in which case the 14 days will be calculated from such payment date.

Read More
Minors and immovable property
Legislative Guidelines

Comment on the Expropriation Bill, 2020[post_view before=""]

This article seeks to highlight some aspects of expropriation of land by looking at the current section 25 of the Constitution and the Expropriation Bill 2020, issued by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure.

Read More
Property Blog Articles | Advice | Contractual Matters | Market News
Legislative Guidelines

Land claims and their impact on the registration of mortgage bonds[post_view before=""]

When it comes to commercial lending transactions, the lender – usually a commercial or corporate division of a bank – may require confirmation that there are no land claims in process in respect of the property or properties that will form part of the security to be registered in the lending structure.

Read More

Need more Snymans content?

Sign up for our monthly newsletter.

Historical monuments and renovation restrictions

South Africa has a diverse and rich history, represented in the buildings that have been built throughout the years. To ensure their lasting value and to preserve this legacy, these buildings are protected through legislation that regulates and restricts renovations and alterations made to buildings classified as historical monuments.

The ins and outs of subject to bond approval clauses

Legislation protecting South Africa’s heritage

Any building that is older than 60 years is considered a heritage site or historical building, and as such forms part of the national estate. The National Heritage Resources Act, 29 of 1999, aims to ensure the good management of the national estate and to motivate communities to conserve South Africa’s common heritage for future generations.

The South African Heritage Resources Agency has been tasked with and is required to compile and maintain an inventory of this national estate, as dictated in Section 39 of the Act, which serves as a database of information on heritage resources.

It is possible to approach the South African Resources Agency in order to determine whether a particular building forms part of the national estate. This information is valuable prior to planning any alterations so as to follow the correct process for these plans being approved.

Altering a historical monument – the process

According to the Act, any building older than 60 years may not be demolished or altered without a permit issued by the relevant provincial heritage resources authority.

In order to obtain this permit, application must be made to the relevant local department of arts, culture and heritage services. Included in the application should be designs by an architectural expert, providing recommendations regarding the demolition and/or alteration to the exterior or interior of the building. The proposed alteration should also be shown in a colour overlay on the original plans.

The building will then be assessed to determine its historical value, which may also include a report from an architect or other professional where deemed necessary.

In determining whether the proposed alterations should be approved, this authority will consider the cultural significance of the building, whether it is a valuable example of a specific architectural style or achievement, and whether the loss due to the alteration or demolition is outweighed by the benefits of this change. However, there are no stringent rules when it comes to these considerations, and the approval process is at the discretion of the relevant local heritage authority.

Based on the outcome of the assessment, approval may be given and the alterations may proceed.

Failing to follow the process

The National Heritage Resources Act clearly states that no person may alter or demolish any structure, or part of a structure, which is older than 60 years without a permit issued by the relevant provincial heritage resources authority.

Failing to obtain the necessary approval prior to implementing any alterations is therefore in direct contravention of this legislation and will result in penalties as set out in the Act. These penalties range from fines and reversing any alterations to completely reinstating a demolished building and even imprisonment.

Following the correct process is naturally the best course of action, and consulting the relevant authorities and professionals should form part of the initial stage should any alteration be desired in order to avoid these negative consequences.

Follow Snymans on Facebook for more legal advice, information and news about property.