info@ecphra.org.za

(+27) 043 745 0888


Our Vision

A Province whose well conserved viable cultural heritage resources promote reconciliation, social cohesion and sustainable socio- economic development.



Mission  statement

To transform the cultural heritage resources landscape for sustainable development of communities at both local and provincial levels for present and future generations



Our background

A Province ECPHRA was established in 2003 by the MEC responsible for heritage management in the province (Hon Nosimo Balindlela) in terms of section 23 of the National Heritage Resources Act. This followed the outcome of a Court ruling handed down by Mr Justice Kroon on 8 November 2001. The judgement specifically highlighted that – section 34 (1) of the National Heritage Act, No 25 of 1999 (“the Act”) “peremptorily reserves the adjudication of applications for permits as the function of a PHRA (Provincial Heritage Resources Authority)” and that the word “may” in Section 23 of the Act” … not only empowers the MEC to establish the authority (the PHRA), but couples therewith a duty to do so.
The judgement had a ripple effect on other applicable sections of the Act – the PHRA would be required henceforth to administer other sections of the Act as per its functions, powers and duties in terms of section 24 of the Act.

 

However, it remains unclear why the scope of work for the PHRA had been limited to administering only section 34 of the Act when the policy window had been wide open for the province to establish a fully-fledged authority. The status quo remained in force until 2012 when the Council increased the staffing capacity with the objective of applying for competence to administer other sections of the Act – particularly those sections that deal with matters of archaeology, palaeontology, meteorites and burial grounds. In August 2012 ECPHRA was granted competence by the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) to administer other relevant sections of the Act. For ECPHRA to be declared competent it had to meet the criteria as spelled out in the Act. The criteria remain “a sweeping statement” in nature – it is not consistent with the scope and amount of work at the disposal of the PHRA.

 

In practice, the minimum requirement for a PHRA to be competent would not necessarily render the PHRA competent. In fact, the bulk of heritage management work is at the provincial level. Ironically, both the national and local authorities would appear to be well resourced way better than the PHRAs. Yet, when a PHRA is not functional an uproar can be heard at all spheres of government. ECPHRA had been no exception – since 2013 it had experienced the worst operational and governance nightmares. It had been rendered dysfunctional almost every year due to lack of essential and adequate support. However, during good times it made strides in various other aspects of heritage management in the province. It had been able to exert its influence across the socio- economic sphere as the commenting authority in the province on issues of heritage management. Its meaningful contribution in the environmental impact assessment processes for all sorts of infrastructural developments including its influence on urbanisation/ urban development through processing of applications for alteration of historic/ heritage buildings in the townscapes in order to inform the urban development. The processing of research permits applications for heritage disciplines such as archaeology and palaeontology. It remains firm on other heritage issues that also appeal to the masses such as the protection of the local communities sacred sites that particularly fall outside the formal control of municipalities – human remains that continue to be uncovered by infrastructural development and forces of nature such as erosion
 

A Province ECPHRA was established in 2003 by the MEC responsible for heritage management in the province (Hon Nosimo Balindlela) in terms of section 23 of the National Heritage Resources Act. This followed the outcome of a Court ruling handed down by Mr Justice Kroon on 8 November 2001. The judgement specifically highlighted that – section 34 (1) of the National Heritage Act, No 25 of 1999 (“the Act”) “peremptorily reserves the adjudication of applications for permits as the function of a PHRA (Provincial Heritage Resources Authority)” and that the word “may” in Section 23 of the Act” … not only empowers the MEC to establish the authority (the PHRA), but couples therewith a duty to do so.
The judgement had a ripple effect on other applicable sections of the Act – the PHRA would be required henceforth to administer other sections of the Act as per its functions, powers and duties in terms of section 24 of the Act.

 

However, it remains unclear why the scope of work for the PHRA had been limited to administering only section 34 of the Act when the policy window had been wide open for the province to establish a fully-fledged authority. The status quo remained in force until 2012 when the Council increased the staffing capacity with the objective of applying for competence to administer other sections of the Act – particularly those sections that deal with matters of archaeology, paleontology, meteorites and burial grounds. In August 2012 ECPHRA was granted competence by the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) to administer other relevant sections of the Act. For ECPHRA to be declared competent it had to meet the criteria as spelled out in the Act. The criteria remain “a sweeping statement” in nature – it is not consistent with the scope and amount of work at the disposal of the PHRA.

 

In practice, the minimum requirement for a PHRA to be competent would not necessarily render the PHRA competent. In fact, the bulk of heritage management work is at the provincial level. Ironically, both the national and local authorities would appear to be well resourced way better than the PHRAs. Yet, when a PHRA is not functional an uproar can be heard at all spheres of government. ECPHRA had been no exception – since 2013 it had experienced the worst operational and governance nightmares. It had been rendered dysfunctional almost every year due to lack of essential and adequate support. However, during good times it made strides in various other aspects of heritage management in the province. It had been able to exert its influence across the socio- economic sphere as the commenting authority in the province on issues of heritage management. Its meaningful contribution in the environmental impact assessment processes for all sorts of infrastructural developments including its influence on urbanisation/ urban development through processing of applications for alteration of historic/ heritage buildings in the townscapes in order to inform the urban development. The processing of research permits applications for heritage disciplines such as archaeology and palaeontology. It remains firm on other heritage issues that also appeal to the masses such as the protection of the local communities sacred sites that particularly fall outside the formal control of municipalities – human remains that continue to be uncovered by infrastructural development and forces of nature such as erosion


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