I only opened your e-mail on my computer this morning when I was scanning older mails to find something – I seem to have missed it completely. It came in when I was travelling and somehow disappeared in the pile of mail that awaited me on my return. I apologise!
I have established that removing the skylight would probably require a permit in terms of the Heritage Resources Act and the regulations issued in terms thereof. I say “probably” because although the house is older than 60 years and therefore protected in terms of the Act, the skylight is a relatively small aspect of its overall “historicity” and the owner may argue that removing and replacing it with something which he considers “culturally” more neutral, should not attract the Act’s attention.
If a permit is required, and provided we know when it is being applied for, there will normally be an opportunity to make written presentations or even to attend the “permit hearing” in person to object etc. The challenge is to make sure the owner knows he requires a permit and to know when he applies.
I have been trying to contact the Provincial Heritage Authority of the Northern Cape (based in Kimberly – www.nbkb.org.za) at the telephone number (053 831 2537) they provide on their website. Many calls went unanswered and when I eventually got an answer the number turned out to belong to the Provincial Branch of the ANC! I wanted to alert them of the situation and to ask that they contact the owner to advise him of his responsibilities. I wonder whether the Authority still exists – I last had contact with them about a heritage matter several years ago.
I am copying Memci at the Calvinia Museum who has had contact with the owner (I am not sure where he lives – Carmel Villa seems to be closed at the moment) and suggest that she alerts him to the need for a permit and ask him to copy her with his application in case the Museum wants to respond. I also copy Len Raymond of Heritage SA who has expressed an interest in the matter and may also wish to address the Provincial Heritage Authority about this. You too may wish to write to the Authority in advance to note your concern and ask that you be told when a permit is being applied for. The address given on the website is PO Box 1930, Kimberley, 8300. The e-mail address given is email@example.com (i.e. an individual’s address) but the site has not been updated for about three years so I am not sure whether this is still current.
Carmen Villa is 1904 Jewish-built villa in Calvinia. It has the Star of David in the sky-light above the front door. It was recently sold and the new owner wants to remove the Star due to religious sensitivities.
The Helfet-family has contacted me via the Calvinia museum for advice. Even if we could prevent the removal through legal action or by involving the NC HRA, I doubt that this will necessarily be a long-term solution.
What do you think? What would you do
It is a problem however the alteration would require a permit. That permission would be based upon the heritage significance which would be hard to argue against.
So they must apply and if your organisation (I did talk to a group once) is registered (if any are in the N.Cape) or if a group were to express an interest(the museum committee etc.) they would be allowed to comment and to attend the meeting where the decision is made (if they hold meetings in the N.Cape)
In my opinion the fanlight has historical significance in that it refers not only to the family but to a past commercial age, is part of the property and its history and was there when the owners purchased the property.
The next question is of course what is the significance of the building(if I remember it is just up the side street near the bend facing the main Road.) In terms of significance it is an important asset to Calvina both in terms of the age . style and authenticity and should be a 3a . In the context of Calvina.
I would oppose the alteration, appeal the decision all the way to the ministers appeal committee.
An alternative would be to remove the fanlight display it in the museum with an enforceable agreement that it be replaced before any land transfer could take place( i.e. the plans approval that is required before transfer includes that condition) but you are better at legal issues than I am.
Illustrations: Hannes Mering