A report on a cultural heritage impact assessment for the proposed Zindzi Oilseeds Processing Plant in Standerton, Mpumalanga Province
Archaetnos cc was requested by Aurecon to conduct a cultural heritage impact assessment (HIA) for the proposed Zindzi Oilseeds Processing Plant. This is to the south and in the industrial area of the town of Standerton, in the Mpumalanga Province. The site lies within a loop in the Vaal River.
A survey of the available literature was undertaken in order to obtain background information regarding the area. This was followed by the field survey which was conducted according to generally accepted HIA practices, aimed at locating all possible objects, sites and features of cultural significance in the area of proposed development.
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 a Global Positioning System (GPS). The information was added to photographs and the description in order to facilitate the identification of each locality.
During the survey one site of cultural heritage significance were located close to the area to be developed. This is a very large grave yard. No other cultural resources were identified.
The site will however be indirectly impacted on by the development and therefore needs to be mitigated. If possible, it should be incorporated it into the development plan for the area. As there would then still be a secondary impact the site will then have to be fenced in, a management plan drafted and implemented and the site preserved. However, access to any descendants should be allowed. This may create logistical problems for the developer and therefore this option should be considered very carefully.
Another option is that the graves be exhumed and the bodies reburied. This process is a lengthy process including social consultation in order to find families of the deceased and to obtain their permission. In the case of graves older than 60 years and those with an unknown date of death an archaeologist as well as an undertaker will have to be part of the team involved. A permit from SAHRA will also need to be obtained. For graves with a date of death of younger than 60 years, only an undertaker is involved. However, since there is no direct impact, this option is not recommended.
The proposed development may continue only after proper implementation of the mitigation measures recommended.
It should be noted that the subterranean presence of archaeological and/or historical sites, features or artifacts is always a distinct possibility. Care should therefore be taken when mining commences that if any of these are discovered, a qualified archaeologist be called in to investigate.
Dr. A.C. van Vollenhoven (L.AKAD.SA.)