A REPORT ON A CULTURAL HERITAGE IMPACT ASSESSMENT FOR THE PROPOSED EMPULUZI/ METHULA REGIONAL WATER SUPPLY SCHEME PHASE 1 EIA, MPUMALANGA PROVINCE
Archaetnos cc was requested by AdiEnvironmental CC to conduct a cultural heritage impact assessment (HIA) for the proposed Empuluzi/ Methula Regional Water Supply Scheme Phase 1 EIA. This is in the Mpumalanga Province.
The project entails the planning, designing, implementation, construction management, commissioning and handover of a sustainable Bulk Water Supply Scheme to the Empuluzi and Methula areas. The scheme will entail the upgrading and refurbishment of all Bulk Water Infrastructure on the existing scheme including a new diversion weir, canal, off channel storage dam and abstraction facility at a new abstraction point identified in the uMpuluzi River. In addition to the new abstraction facility, the existing abstraction facility at Mayflower will be upgraded. The upgrade will entail a new abstraction weir, pump station and new raw water pump line to the existing Mayflower Water Treatment Works. Existing Bulk Infrastructure to be upgraded inter alia includes pump stations, rising mains, gravity mains, storage reservoirs, steel tanks and the existing WTWs at Methula and Empuluzi (Mayflower).
The methodology for the study includes a survey of literature and a field survey. The latter was conducted according to generally accepted HIA practices and was aimed at locating all possible objects, sites and features of cultural significance in the area of proposed development.
If required, the location/position of any site was determined by means of a Global Positioning System (GPS), while photographs were also taken where needed. The survey was undertaken by doing a physical survey via off-road vehicle and on foot and covered as much as possible of the area to be studied. Certain factors, such as accessibility, density of vegetation, etc. may however influence the coverage.
All sites, objects, features and structures identified were documented according to the general minimum standards accepted by the archaeological profession. Co-ordinates of individual localities were determined by means of the Global Positioning System (GPS). The information was added to the description in order to facilitate the identification of each locality.
General public consultation will be done by AdiEnvironmental. The various specialist reports will be utilized for this purpose. For the Heritage Impact Assessment, tribal authorities were contacted. None of these had any comments.
The survey of the indicated area was completed successfully. As indicated three associated historical/ Late Iron Age sites were identified at Empuluzi. These are however located at least 100 m away from the proposed construction. No sites were identified at Mayflower.
The following is recommended:
- If necessary, the sites may be mitigated, subject to a permit application lodged with the relevant heritage
- This means that the sites may be demolished, but only after it had been documented. This documentation includes doing test excavations and drawing a site map.
- However, as indicated, currently no impact is foreseen as it lies more than 100 m towards the north-west of the proposed development. It should therefore just be left in situ. During construction work however, the developer needs to ensure that the sites are protected. This can be done by demarcating the area (e.g. with danger tape).
- The development may therefore proceed, once the above measures had been commented on by SAHRA and the related mitigation measures have been implemented.
- It should be noted that the subterranean presence of archaeological and/or historical sites, features or artifacts is always a distinct possibility. It is possible that some sites may only become known later on. Operating controls and monitoring should therefore be aimed at the possible unearthing of such features. Care should therefore be taken when development commences that if any of these are discovered, a qualified archaeologist be called in to investigate the occurrence.
It is also important to take cognizance that it is the client’s responsibility to do the submission of this report via the SAHRIS System on the SAHRA website. No work on site may commence before receiving the necessary comments from SAHRA.