A REPORT ON A CULTURAL HERITAGE IMPACT ASSESSMENT FOR THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT OF A RURAL VILLAGE ON A PORTION OF PORTION 5 OF THE FARM VLAKVARKFONTEIN
213 IR AND A PORTION OF THE REMAINING EXTENT OF VAN DYKSPUT 214 IR, DELMAS, MPUMALANGA PROVINCE
Archaetnos cc was requested by AdiEnvironmental CC to conduct a cultural heritage impact assessment (HIA) for the proposed development of a rural village on a portion of portion 5 of the farm Vlakvarkfontein 213 JR and a portion of the remaining extent of Van Dyksput 214 JR. This is close to Delmas in the Victor Khanye Local Municipality, Mpumalanga Province.
The project entails the formalization of an existing settlement, known as Arbor Village. As part of this project, additional residential stands and a cemetery will be provided. The heritage study forms part of an Environmental Impact Assessment.
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.
The survey of the indicated area was completed successfully. Four sites were identified.
The following is recommended:
- Three grave sites have been identified (sites 1-3). Graves are always regarded as having a high cultural significance. The field rating thereof is Local Grade III B. It should be included in the heritage register but may be mitigated.
- Two possibilities for mitigation exist. The first option would be to fence the graves in and have a management plan drafted for the sustainable preservation thereof. This should be written by a heritage expert. This usually is done when the graves are in no danger of being damaged, but where there will be a secondary impact due to the development activities.
- The second option is to exhume the mortal remains and then to have it relocated. This usually is done when the graves are in the area to be directly affected by the development activities. For this a specific procedure should be followed which includes social consultation. For graves younger than 60 years, only an undertaker is needed. For those older than 60 years and unknown graves an undertaker and archaeologist is needed. Permits should be obtained from the Burial Grounds and Graves unit of SAHRA.
- Site no. 1 will remain as a cemetery. Sites no. 2 and 3 are included in a ‘wetland’ area, adjacent to the new proposed cemetery. Option 1 is therefore recommended for all three sites. Sites 2 and 3 can be included into the proposed cemetery.
- Site no. 4, the stone and corrugated iron building receive a field rating of Local Grade IIIC. The description in this phase 1 heritage report is seen as sufficient recording (low significance) and it may be granted destruction at the discretion of the relevant heritage authority without a formal permit application, subjected to the granting of Environmental Authorisation.
- 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.