The National Heritage Resource Act

Section 27 of the National Heritage Resources Act (NHRA) of South Africa provides for places of such exceptional cultural heritage value to be designated as national heritage sites. This came into effect with the introduction of the Act on 1 April 2000. All former national monuments declared by the former National Monuments Council and its predecessors became provincial heritage sites as provided for in Section 58 of the Act.

Both national and provincial heritage sites are protected under the terms of Section 27 of the NHRA, and a permit is required for any changes, destruction, excavations or damage to the site. In accordance with Section 7 and 27, National Heritage Sites are declared and administered by the national heritage resources authority, SAHRA; and provincial heritage sites fall within the domain of the various provincial heritage resources authorities.

Section 32 of the NHRA provides for SAHRA to declare any object or collection of objects which it deems to have such cultural heritage significance the export of such objects needs to be controlled (Section 32 (1)). SAHRA is, therefore, the only body that is able to declare Specifically Declared Objects or Collections.

A nation united through heritage

In total, the resources declared nationally must clearly tell the story of South Africa and its people, celebrate our achievements and contribute to redressing pastt inequities (especially in the representation of our histories, traditions and cultural values)

Therefore South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) through the declaration process units the South African rainbow and promotes social cohesion and nation building by the protection and interpretation of these heritage resources.

What does National Declaration mean?

SAHRA’s mandate is to identify places and objects that have such exceptional qualities, through their association with historical events, persons, organisations or have such scientific, social or cultural value, that their influence is felt across the country. National Declaration is the acknowledgement of these national, and often universal, values and aims to protect the authenticity and integrity of these resources. National Declaration is, therefore, the most permanent formal protection offered under Part 1 of Chapter 2 in the NHRA.

Currently declared national heritage sites are:

  • FOSSIL SITES OF SOUTH AFRICA (CRADLE OF HUMANKIND) (World Heritage Listing)
    • Makapans Valley (2002)
    • Bolts Farm (2004)
    • Coopers (2004)
    • Drimolen (2004)
    • Gladysvale (2004)
    • Gondolin (2004)
    • Haasgat (2004)
    • Kromdraai (2004)
    • Minnaars (2004)
    • Motsetse (2004)
    • Plovers Lake (2004)
    • Sterkfontein (2004)
    • Swartkrans (2004)
    • Taung Fossil Site (2006)
    • Malapa (2016)
  • MAPUNGUBWE 2002 (World Heritage Listing)
  • KADITSHWENE CULTURAL HERITAGE SITE
  • SARAH BAARTMAN BURIAL SITE 2008
  • LAKE FUNDUDZI 2014
  • VOORTREKKER MONUMENT
  • UNION BUILDINGS, 120PLEIN STREET, TUYNHUYS 2013
  • PARLIAMENT 2014
  • GRAVES OF REVOLUTIONARIES AND LEADERS
    • Helen Joseph and Lilian Ngoyi (2010)
    • Charlotte Maxyeke (2010)
    • Rahima Moosa (2013)
    • Chief Albert Luthuli (2012)
    • John Langalibalele Dube (2012)
    • Alfred Batini Xuma (2012)
    • Oliver and Adelaide Tambo (2012)
    • Sefako Mapogo Makgatho (2013)
    • Josiah Tshangana Gumede (2013)
    • Pixley ka Isaka Seme (2013)
    • Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe (2013)
    • Stephan Bantu Biko (2013)
    • Rev Christiaan Frederick Beyers Naudé (2013)
    • Dr James Sebe Moroka (2016)
    • Mr Thomas Mtobi Mapikela (2016)
    • Chris Hani and the Chris Hani Memorial and Walk of Remembrance (2017)
  • SAS PIETERMARITZBURG 2013
  • ROBBEN ISLAND 2006 (World Heritage Listing)
  • MANDELA’S HOUSE AT VICTOR VERSTER (NOW DRAKENSTEIN) PRISON 2009
  • WONDERWERK CAVE 2010
  • KADITSHWENE CULTURAL LANDSCAPE 2011
  • VOORTREKKER MONUMENT 2011
  • WEST COAST FOSSIL PAR 2014
  • KLASIES RIVER CAVE COMPLEX 2016
  • SOUTH AFRICAN MONUMENT DELVILLE WOOD 2016
  • LILIESLEAF FARM 2016
  • CASTLE OF GOOD HOPE 2016
  • THE SAMORA MACHEL MEMORIAL AND CRASH SITE 2016
  • SHARPEVILLE MASSACRE SITES 2016
  • MENDI MEMORIAL 2016
  • UNIVERSITY OF FORT HARE 2016
    • ZK Matthews House
    • The Old Fort
    • Christian Union Hall
    • HMS Building (Old Dining Room)
    • Stuart Hall
    • Freedom Square
  • CONSTITUTION HILL 2017
  • FREEDOM PARK 2017
  • CAPE WINELANDS LANDSCAPE 2009
    • Idas Valley
    • Dal Josafat
    • Dwars River Valley
    • Boschendal Founders Estate