On Saturday, 29th June 2019, disaster struck as Paarl’s Non-Pareille Manor House on Dal Josafat farm, burnt down.

In light of this terrible event, the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) is extremely saddened by the unfortunate incident that took place. Thankfully, there were no injuries or fatalities. We would like to acknowledge and give thanks to everyone involved who fought tirelessly to prevent the neighbouring thatch buildings from getting caught on fire, thereby avoiding any further damage.

We would also like to acknowledge and commend the following entities in particular; Drakenstein Municipal Fire Brigade, Cape Winelands Fire Brigade, Drakenstein Farm Watch Volunteer Fire Group, Fidelity ADT, Drakenstein Farm Watch Emergency Control Room, and 0860 666 662 Medical, Fire and Security in partnership with Fidelity ADT.

In response to this, SAHRA recognises a great opportunity to raise public awareness about their right to conserve valuable heritage resources and share the good work done by these community heroes.

In light of the active citizenry that was displayed, we encourage communities to continue to assist SAHRA in identifying any forms of vandalism and neglect in order for us to play an active role in protecting South Africa’s national heritage assets.

SAHRA had been actively working on a maximisation strategy for the sustainable use of its properties since 2015. A situational analysis was conducted highlighting the potential uses for these properties, informing the most feasible way to meet SAHRA’s developmental goals.

Thereafter, in February 2018, SAHRA requested for Expression of Interest (EOI), in connection with Public Private Partnership opportunities (PPP), in order to identify potential socio-economic prospects that exist within the facilities of the property referred to as Erf 1341, Dal Josafat Farm in Paarl, Western Cape.

The aim of the EOI was to investigate the feasibility of PPP opportunities in which it would give a selected private party the developmental access for the appropriate socio-economic use of the property.

PPP agreements in this sector, give the selected private party rights to finance, design, build, manage, and operate a heritage tourism facility on state conservation land for a period that will return a fair investment. The private party would have to meet agreed heritage conservation, environmental, development, operating and Broad-Based BEE obligations.

With the property feasibility study underway, SAHRA recognises that despite the unfortunate situation of the fire on Non-Pareille farmstead, there is still an opportunity for sustainable use of the property, and to prepare for the next wave of growth in the economic heritage sector. To respond to these emerging trends, there is a need to build the heritage tourism asset base by increasing investment into new attractions.

The current leadership at SAHRA are carefully reviewing all tabled opportunities. Once the feasibility study is complete, considering the tragedy of the fire, the public will be notified in due course on development plans for the property going forward. Despite tremendous efforts in recent years to further restore and develop the property in question, SAHRA has been met with budget constraints, constant vandalism, incidents of theft and fire.

In our continued pursuit for heritage conservation on Dal Josafat Farm and other heritage properties, SAHRA recognises the responsibility of reasonable sustainable use through expenditure, accountability, and conservation. 

We invite the public and local communities to be part of our heritage conservation efforts. Dal Josafat is one of those sites that provides us with an opportunity to have a holistic, inclusive, collective use and enjoyment of our national assets. Surrounding communities should be involved in the management of our heritage resources and have access to them. As we transform our heritage landscape, we are simultaneously achieving our targets. SAHRA will continue producing clean audit results and strive to take our heritage commitments seriously.