A REPORT ON A HERITAGE IMPACT ASSESSMENT RELATED TO THE PROPOSED MOHLAKENG EXTENSION 17 TO BE ESTABLISHED ON A PORTION OF REMAINING EXTENT OF PORTION 83 OF THE FARM MIDDELVLEI 255-IQ, A PORTION OF REMAINING EXTENT OF PORTION 136 OF THE FARM LUIPAARDSVLEI 243-IQ AND PORTION 68 OF THE FARM LUIPAARDSVLEI 243-IQ, RAND WEST LOCAL MUNICIPALITY, GAUTENG PROVINCE
Archaetnos cc was requested by MGTD Environmental to conduct a cultural heritage impact assessment (HIA) for a proposed housing development on the Remainder of Portion 83 of the farm Middelvlei 255 IQ, a Portion of the Remainder of Portion 136 of the farm Luipaardsvlei 243 IQ and Portion 68 of the farm Luipaardsvlei 243 IQ. This is in Mohlakeng within the Rand West Local Municipality, Gauteng Province.
The project entails a residential development, including some business areas. 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 was done by Archaetnos. No comments were received.
The survey of the indicated area was completed successfully. One site was identified.
The following is recommended:
- The grave at site number 1 is located inside of the area that will be developed and will be directly impacted. There are two ways of dealing with the grave.
- The first option would be to fence the grave 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 grave is in no danger of being damaged, but there will be secondary impact due to the development.
- The second option is to exhume and relocate the mortal remains. This usually is done when the grave is in the area to be directly affected by the development. 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 area needed. Permits should be obtained from the Burial Grounds and Graves unit of SAHRA. This procedure is quite lengthy.
- Option 1 is recommended, meaning that the development layout could be changed so that the site is not impacted on. It always is advisable to rather leave graves in situ when these are inside of the area and will be impacted by the development. This would require leaving the grave on an open plot and perhaps making a park around it. A buffer zone of at least 20m should be created around the site. However, if this is not possible, Option 2 may be considered, but it needs to be motivated to SAHRA.
- After implementation of the above mitigation measures and upon receiving the necessary comment from the heritage authority, the proposed development may continue.
- The active religious site found, can be seen as living heritage. This however rather is the domain of anthropologists and sociologists than that of archaeologists. It is known that these churches move around from time to time and create new religious spaces when the need for this arises. Thus, the physical manifestation of the site is not important. It will simply move if the space is not available for use in future.
- 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.
In this regard the following ‘Chance find Procedure’ should be followed:
- Upon finding any archaeological or historical material all work at the affected area must cease.
· The area should be demarcated in order to prevent any further work there until an investigation has been completed.
· An archaeologist should be contacted immediately to provide advice on the matter.
- Should it be a minor issue, the archaeologist will decide on future action. Depending on the nature of the find, it may include a site visit.
- SAHRA’s APM Unit may also be notified.
· If needed the necessary permit will be applied for with SAHRA. This will be done in conjunction with the appointed archaeologist.
· The removal of such archaeological material will be done by the archaeologist in lieu of the approval given by SAHRA, including any conditions stipulated by the latter.
Work on site will only continue after the archaeologist/ SAHRA has agreed to such a matter.
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.
Prof. A.C. van Vollenhoven (L.AKAD.SA.) Accredited member of ASAPA Accredited member of SASCH