An official Heritage Protection Overlay Zone (HPOZ) has been approved for the historical Bo-Kaap neighbourhood, and will go into effect once it is published in the Provincial Gazette. The decision to approve the HPOZ was made on Thursday, March 28.

The Bo-Kaap is South Africa’s oldest Muslim community, and is also Cape Town’s oldest surviving residential neighbourhood.

Speaking to IOL, Mayor Dan Plato commented on the approval, saying it “marks a pivotal moment for the Bo-Kaap. Today, the City has officially committed to conserving the unique historical landscape and way of life in the Bo-Kaap by managing development in a sustainable and considered manner. Residents’ plight in getting the Bo-Kaap area included in an HPOZ has been ongoing for nearly four years.

“I personally want to thank all of those who have persevered, and I want to commend those who have participated in the recent public participation process for their commitment and constructive contributions. The Bo-Kaap is entering a new chapter where residents and landowners can actively promote it as a heritage tourist destination to the benefit of the local community, as well as the broader Cape Town.”

A public participation process was conducted by the City between January 18 and February 22 2019, and included a sector hearing. During this hearing, community organisations and businesses made oral presentations.

More than 2 298 comments were received by the City, and 2 271 of these were in support of the Bo-Kaap being included in an HPOZ.

According to Mayco Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Marian Niewoudt, those who gave comment did so to protect the Bo-Kaap in order to remain a cultural asset. “By including the Bo-Kaap in an HPOZ we will ensure that this uniqueness is harnessed and promoted for future generations and visitors,” she said.

The HPOZ for the Bo-Kaap will extend to the Table Mountain National Park, and includes the northern green plains to the northwest of Strand Street, as well as Buitengracht between Carisbrook and Strand Street.

Those who own property in the Bo-Kaap will also be impacted by the HPOZ as it will determine and influence new developments, restorations, and the maintenance and alteration of properties in the area.

“The HPOZ will also allow the City to impose conditions to the approval to ensure that the heritage value of the building or site is protected or enhanced. The City may also require the applicant to amend the plans,” Niewoudt said.

Picture: Pixabay

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