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What is Heritage?

Heritage resources in South Africa are protected under the National Heritage Resources Act. Buildings are protected in two ways. Either they are declared as heritage sites (for important buildings or places) or they are protected due to their age (60 years or older).

What is a Heritage Resource?

War Memorial
A heritage resource is something that is of historical or cultural significance to a community, city or country. It can be a building, a place or even an object. They are protected as part of our collective heritage and cultural inheritance. For example, most trees in Saxonwold are protected by heritage, especially those on the street.

How do I know if my property is a heritage resource?

• It is a declared heritage resource. A list of these is maintained by the city and the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation. You should be made aware of this when purchasing the property. 
• If your building (or part of your building) is over 60 years old. You can find this out by getting copies of the previously approved plans from the city council. Most of the buildings in Saxonwold and Parkwood are over 60 years old. 
• If your building was owned or occupied by an important person. 

Remember, even though you own the building you do not own the heritage value. It is collectively owned by all South Africans.

What do I do if my property is a heritage resource?

• Just because your property (or any part of your property) is over 60 years old it does not mean that you cannot make changes. You must however get approval for these. This is for all changes - both the inside as well as the outside of the building. 
• You will need to make a submission to the Provincial Heritage Resources Authority of Gauteng (PHRAG) for approval of your proposed changes. This is in addition to the council approval.  Both approvals/permits are required before commencing any work on site.

• You can download the PHRAG application form here.

  • Failure to obtain the relevant permissions from PHRAG could result in a criminal prosecution.
  • Any plans to alter or demolish a structure older than sixty years must be submitted to SAPRA's heritage architect for comment before submission to PHRAG and Council. Occasionally a site visit may be required.
  • SAPRA will require the full PHRAG application with all supporting documents in order to scrutinise the proposed work.

You can contact one of SAPRA's heritage architects.  Their contact details are:

Robyn Arnot


082 604 5811

Mark Hansen


082 566 1002

The architects will request a soft copy of the application first and then, once approved, hard copies for stamping. Revisions may be requested to align the application with the intentions of the SAPRA heritage portfolio.

More information on Heritage can be found at the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation. Please click here.

Information above supplied by Mayat Hart Architects and Heritage Consultants