A REPORT ON A CULTURAL HERITAGE IMPACT ASSESSMENT FOR THE PROPOSED BADIRILE EXTENTION TOWNSHIP DEVELOPMENT, CLOSE TO RANDBURG, GAUTENG PROVINCE
Archaetnos cc was requested by Texture Environmental Consultants to conduct a cultural heritage impact assessment (HIA) for the proposed Badirile Extention township. The proposed project is located on Portion 48 of the farm Brandvlei 261-IQ, Rand West Local Municipality, Gauteng Province.
The said property is located south of the Badirile township, an area north-west of Randfontein town. The roads have been developed up to the end of the Badirile township. Access to the Badirile township is obtained from the N14 that is running to the north of the township. The property is furthermore situated in close proximity and to the west of the Ventersdorp Road.
The township will constitute of approximately 568 erven to be zoned “Residential 1”, one (1) erf to be used for public open space purposes, one (1) erf to be zoned “Business”, two (2) erven zoned “Community Facility” and one (1) erf to be zoned “Institutional”. The proposal includes the construction of associated infrastructure, including access road, civil services (water, sewer and stormwater reticulation) and electricity.
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.
During the survey four sites of cultural heritage significance were identified. Two of these are outside of the development and two, believed to be the same site, inside. Mitigation measures are proposed. After the implementation of these, the proposed development may continue.
The following is recommended:
- Site 1 (including site 3) – ruins of farm buildings has a negligible cultural significance. This means that 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.
- Graves are always regarded as having a high cultural significance. However the two sites identified (no. 2 and 4) are approximately 200 m from the development. It should be included in the heritage register but may be mitigated.
- 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.
- Since the graves lies outside of the development footprint, but in close proximity, there may be a secondary impact. In fact, this is already visible as the sites seems to have been neglected for some time. The sites should be kept in in situ. It is therefore recommended that Option 1 be implemented. This means that a management plan for the sustainable utilisation and preservation of the site needs to be drafted.
- The development may only continue after receiving the necessary comments from the BGG Unit of SAHRA and the Provincial Heritage Resources Authority of Gauteng and implementing their decision.
- It should be noted that the subterranean presence of archaeological and/or historical sites, features or artifacts is always a distinct possibility. It may only become known later on. Therefore, operating controls and monitoring should be introduced, 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 to the relevant Heritage Resources Agency. No work on site may commence before receiving the necessary comments from them.