Archaetnos cc was appointed by Prime Resources Environmental Consultants to conduct a cultural heritage impact assessment (HIA) study for the proposed ERPM Extension Area 2 or ERPM Extension 2. This is on Portions 5 and 19 of the farm Witpoortje 117 IR in the Ekurhuleni South East Magisterial District in the City of Ekurhuleni, Gauteng Province.

The HIA is done as part of the draft EIA. The type of development will consist of underground mining. ERPM Extension 1 plans to consolidate the underground resources. The Far East Vertical (FEV) shaft and FEV vent shaft will be refurbished and used to access underground workings. An additional twin shaft (includes both access and vent shaft), termed Windmill Shaft, is proposed to be constructed to allow access to the underground operations and will include the development of the associated head gear. An existing vent shaft on Portion 19 of the Farm Witpoortje 117 IR (Witpoortje Vent Shaft) will also be reopened and re-equipped for use.

A survey of literature was undertaken in order to obtain background information regarding the area. The field survey 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.

Three sites of cultural heritage importance were identified.

The final recommendations are as follows:

  • Site no. 1 and 2 is of negligible heritage importance. It may be demolished upon approval by the relevant heritage authority.
  • Site no. 3 are graves which has a high heritage significance.
  • Two possibilities 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.
  • The type of development makes it possible to keep the graves in situ. It is therefore recommended that it be included in the development planning and that Option 1 be implemented.
  • The development may continue after receiving the necessary approval from SAHRA and the implementation of mitigation measures as indicated above.
  • It should be remembered that due to archaeological sites being subterranean in essence, it is possible that all cultural sites may not have been identified. Care should therefore be taken when development work commences that, if any more artifacts are uncovered, a qualified archaeologist be called in to investigate.

Report by:

Prof. A.C. van Vollenhoven (L. Akad. S.A.)

Accredited member of ASAPA

Accredited member of SASCH


Johan Smit, BA (Hons)

Report by