Archaetnos cc was requested by WSP to conduct an archaeological impact assessment (AIA) for the proposed KwaMhlanga 132/22kV 2x40MVA Substation and 11kV to 22kV network conversion. This is in KwaMhlanga, in the Herry Thembisile Hani Local Municipality, Mpumalanga Province.


The AIA forms part of the environmental BAR phase. The applicable farms related to the project is KwaMhlanga 617 JR, Enkeldoorn 217 JR, Zustershoek 246 JR, Enkeldoring 651 JR, Graslaagte 232 JR and Gemsbokfontein 231 JR. The client indicated the study area, which was surveyed by means of a foot survey and an off-road vehicle.


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 GPS. The information was added to the description in order to facilitate the identification of each locality.


During the survey seven sites of cultural heritage significance were identified within the immediate project area.




The following is recommended:


  • Three of the sites identified, number 1, 3 and 7, are graveyards. There are always of high heritage significance. There are two ways of dealing with graves.
    • 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 activities of the mine.
    • The second option is to exhume and relocate the mortal remains. This usually is done when the graves are in the area to be directly affected by the mining 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 are needed. Permits should be obtained from the Burial Grounds and Graves unit of SAHRA. This procedure is quite lengthy.


However, none of the graves are in danger of being impacted by the development. Therefore they may merely be left in situ. It should however be included in the heritage register.


  • All other sites, i.e. farmyards and historical structures (site 2, 4, 5 and 6) are of low heritage significance. The description in this phase 1 heritage report is seen as sufficient recording 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.


It is however unlikely that any of these sites will be impacted on as the nearest one is 20 m from option 1 for the power line.


  • From a heritage perspective there is no preference for any of the two options for the power line. Any of these may thus be used.
  • The proposed development may continue after receiving the necessary authoritsation from the relevant heritage authority.


  • It should be noted that the subterranean presence of archaeological and/or historical sites, features or artifacts is always a distinct possibility. Due to the density of vegetation it is also 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 regards the following ‘Chance find Procedure’ should be followed:


  1. Upon finding any archaeological or historical material all work at the affected area must cease.

2.     The area should be demarcated in order to prevent any further work there until an investigation has been completed.

3.     An archaeologist should be contacted immediately to provide advice on the matter.

  1. Should it be a minor issue, the archaeologist will decide on future action, which could include adapting the HIA or not. Depending on the nature of the find, it may include a site visit.
  2. SAHRA’s APM Unit may also be notified.

6.     If needed, the necessary permit will be applied for with SAHRA. This will be done in conjunction with the appointed archaeologist.

7.     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.

8.     Work on site will only continue after removal of the archaeological/ historical material was done.

Report by

Prof. A.C. van Vollenhoven (L.AKAD.SA.) Accredited member of ASAPA Accredited member of SASCH