Minutes of the Heritage Association of South Africa (HASA) Annual General Meeting as held at the Saddle Horse Museum Richmond, on 16 October 2014 at 11:30.
The Vice-Chairperson (Chris Young) welcomed all on behalf of HASA to Richmond. He thanked Richmond for the excellent hospitality provided. The Agenda was adopted without amendment.
An attendance register was circulated (list attached as Annexure A). It was noted that the following member organisations are representative at the meeting:
Drakenstein C Young, L Raymond
Swellendam C Podd
Egoli H Prins, D Adams,
M Fassler Kamstra, J Stoltz
Alberton B. Small, E Visser, M Alberts
Boksburg D Stirling
Prince Albert J Maguire, M Botha
Hartenbos (Simon van der Stel Southern Cape) M. Visagie
Mandela Bay A Montgomery, L Haller, G Hart
Tulbagh J Clark
Richmond J Luscombe
Simon van der Stel Southern Cape N De Swardt
Rhodes D Walker
It was agreed that the meeting has been duly convened and is properly constituted.
Apologies were noted for Stellenbosch (Hannes van Zyl) and Cape Town (Yvonne Leibman). Yvonne was expected to arrive on Thursday night.
It was further recorded that Clanwilliam could not send representatives to the AGM due to other commitments.
The meeting conveyed condolences to the family of Dawid Jordaan who had recently passed away.
5) ADOPTION OF THE MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING HELD ON 3RD OCTOBER 2013 AT POTCHEFSTROOM
Len Raymond reported that the minutes from the previous meeting had been read and approved by the outgoing Council. Matters arising are as per the circulated agenda.
6) MATTERS ARISING
6.1 NAME AND CONSTITUTION
The meeting was informed that the constitution is still under review by the executive committee who met earlier this morning to resolve small typing and grammatical errors. The revised draft will be circulated to all associates who will be given a week to review and comment.
In order to proceed with the AGM it was proposed and agreed that the draft constitution be adopted. It was further agreed that all those attending will be founder associates of the association.
6.2 GOLD MEDALS & AWARD CRITERIA
The chairperson reported that the criteria has been revised and that a new set of criteria has been developed and will be circulated in due course. An annual notice will be served to all associates setting out timeframes and procedures. The chair further cautioned associates against informing nominees of their nominations. All associates are also encouraged to identify local individuals and award them in cases where the nominees may not meet national criteria but are worthy of recognition at a local level.
Len Raymond indicated that the Simon van der Stel gold medal has been retained. In addition, Egoli has developed certificates on behalf of the national body that will accompany the medal in future. Len and the chairperson commended Egoli for the 2013 award ceremony held at Northwards in Johannesburg. The meeting thanked Egoli for their efforts for the design. The meeting approved the payment for the certificates printed.
6.3 WEBSITE & RESTORICA
Carol Podd reported back on the website (www.heritagesa.org). It was noted that new navigation bars have been included to make the site more user friendly. 300,000 hits have been recorded to date so the site has an active following. She called on associates to submit articles of local interest. Photos are also welcome. This will assist in driving up the search engine rankings. For now, the domain name will remain as is despite the name change. Once a new corporate identity has been developed, branding elements will be updated on the website. Carol was requested to autodirect visitors from the current site to the new site should the domain name have to change.
The costs associated with the hosting of the site and domain name amounts to R1,000. This has been sponsored for about four years now so the costs to the Association are minimal.
In terms of public relations, Carol also reported that ENCA and SABC have recently contacted the association with media enquiries. There is an opportunity to leverage such opportunities more proactively in future.
It was reported that the University of Pretoria contacted HASA with a request to be allowed to digitise all back copies of Restorica. Once the copies are available on the UP site there will be links to the HASA website. All articles will be indexed and tagged and an index will be included on the website. It was further reported that a set of Restoricas have been given to James Ball from the Heritage Portal and that the Simon van der Stel records have been archived at the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth.
7) CHAIRMAN’S REPORT
The Chairman’s report was read and its adoption proposed and accepted. The report highlighted key achievements and challenges under the previous chairmanship. It was noted that HASA is now officially recognised by the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) which now requires them to inform the organisation of any applications affecting Grade I sites. Of concern is the fact that unlike Heritage Western Cape, SAHRA does not issue registration numbers to organisations as they should.
A vote of thanks was made to Mickey Kent for the guidance and leadership under his chairmanship.
8) TREASURER’S REPORT
It was reported that the sub-committee has reviewed all accounts and confirms that all expenditure has been approved and accounted for.
It was reported that HASA has been funded from donations received from the national trust as at present the organisation does not have enough money to cover audit costs and other expenses. For this reason the name and constitution has also had to be changed. Based on past expenditure patterns, HASA requires R25,000 to R30,000 per annum. It was therefore proposed and accepted that the trust be formally approached for an amount to assist in the ongoing running of the organisation. It was also noted that Mandela Bay commits to settling the outstanding loan of R5,000 once the registration of the NPO has been finalised.
Associates were requested to consider donations to the organisation as provided for in the new constitution.
Lastly, it was noted that the trust and foundation will continue to be separate entities in order to protect the funds of the trust.
9) ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN
Nominations for the election of a new chair were called. Herbert Prins nominated Len Raymond for this year’s chairmanship. The nomination was seconded and accepted unanimously.
10) ELECTION OF INCOMING EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
The chair confirmed that a minimum of six (6) people is required to serve on the Executive Committee. Because of the geography of the country it is acknowledged that it is difficult to organise meetings. It was therefore proposed that there will be regular electronic meetings via Skype or similar applications in order to limit the number of physical meetings. It is important therefore that there is broad representation across the country.
The following nominations were made and accepted: Chairman and vice-chairman( Chris Young) plus
Carol Podd, Jacques Stoltz, Bev Small, Jayson Clark, and Alan Montgomery .
It was noted that Herbert Prins will continue to serve on the Committee but that he will support Jacques as part of the handover process. Herbert will also continue to serve on the awards committee and that non-committee members will be invited to the awards committee as outside expertise may be required.
11) SYMPOSIUM 2015
Len Raymond reported that Stellenbosch and Clanwilliam are interested in hosting the next symposium. All associates are invited to submit nominations. He commended Richmond for the programme and initiative shown to involve the local community. Richmond has set an excellent precedent for the central Karoo area – despite not having a formal heritage body before the symposium.
Associates were requested to submit nominations to the Council as soon as possible so that the planning can commence earlier.
Members noted the lack of participation and representation from KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State.
12) WESTERN CAPE CULTURAL AFFAIRS (WCCA) AWARDS
Len Raymond briefed the meeting about the WCCA awards. One of the fields includes conservation and culture. He proposed that HASA formally nominate Gawie and Gwen Fagan for the lifelong award. A concern was raised regarding the controversy around the Lutheran church development in so far as it may upset certain parties. Herbert Prins commented that the Fagans have shown a lifetime worth of commitment to heritage. It is also important that HASA should be seen to keep to its principles and give the Fagans due recognition despite the controversy surrounding one particular development.
The meeting accepted the recommendations and agreed that a press release be issued to media outlining the nomination and motivation.
13) BRANCH NEWS
13.1 Prince Albert
It was reported that an inventory has been accepted by the Western Cape government and the municipality. The inventory was designed as a working document. All buildings in Prince Albert and the surrounding township were documented and an index included with each erf. This is already proving to be an invaluable resource. The foundation has also made submissions to the spatial development framework and is in the process of finalising the listing of a heritage area. Prince Albert was also commended for winning the cultural affairs award for the most effective organisation in the Western Cape.
Len Raymond informed the meeting that the organisation remains strong, active and financially sound. An inventory has been professionally prepared and the local municipality is trying to secure delegated powers under the provisions of the Act. A major concern however is the grading of grade III sites by Heritage Western Cape as it would appear that officials are using drive-by visual assessments to inform the grading of IIIa, b and c sites. The unfortunate situation is that the PHRA is now relying upon the IIIc grade to make decisions instead of heritage assessments. Drakenstein is therefore considering further action.. He emphasised that the Prince Albert example is a good example of how inventories should be undertaken by communities – which is more in line with the intention of the Act than when officials merely do drive-by visual assessments.
Herbert Prins briefed the meeting on the ongoing challenges faced by the Gauteng heritage community given the dysfunctional state of the PHRA. In particular, conditions in Johannesburg are appalling. He cited the recent Bewareofcolour campaign – which resulted in heritage buildings being daubed in pink paint – as indicative of the general non-responsiveness of the authorities. In light of the Egoli experience HASA is called upon to intervene and assist local bodies and exert pressure on PHRAs to exercise their responsibilities competently.
Dave Walker reported that the hamlet of Rhodes was proclaimed as a national site in 1997. This proclamation is now out of date and is of concern to the community. Fortunately new owners have mostly maintained and improved their properties. Steps have also been taken to restore structures. The purpose of attending the symposium is to seek advice and assistance in order to guide the municipality with the establishment of heritage by-laws and ensure that the hamlet retains its protected status. There is an aesthetics committee in place and the municipality is mostly sympathetic. The committee noted that the hamlet is in all likelihood a Grade II site unless it has been re-graded and recommended that Dave be in touch with SAHRA or the relevant PHRA to confirm the current status. (A list of current graded sites are attached as Annexure B).
The Swellendam Heritage Association celebrates its 35-year anniversary in 2015. The museum buildings were re-thatched this year and a heritage site repaired partially funded by local farmers. The association is also working on a project to restore an 1862 bridge which spans the Buffeljags River river, the mayor supports this. There is an aesthetics committee in place but most of the members are officials of the municipality which creates a problem with registering the local heritage NGO.
Jayson Clark reported that the valley heritage foundation started 5 years ago and it has taken as much time to be officially recognized by Heritage Western Cape. An inventory of the entire town is currently underway. This is funded by the foundation. There is also an initiative underway to have Tulbagh declared as a heritage conservation area. The challenge is that the local municipality is largely defunct. On a positive note there is a new museum curator who is very passionate and committed. As elsewhere in the Western Cape there is a worrying trend that previous national monuments have been downgraded to essentially Grade IIIc status – and this is impacting on entire street- and townscapes being downgraded despite the collective significance of structures.
The Boksburg Historical Association (BHA) is a financially sound organisation. The City of Ekurhuleni consists of nine previous municipalities who have merged. According to the PHRA there are only 16 graded sites in the municipality. 5 of these are struggle grave sites. BHA is therefore working on nominations. The disinterest of the PHRA is of major concern. In addition, BHA has briefed the metro MMC however getting official minutes from meetings is a challenge. In addition, David also briefed the meeting about his involvement in Kensington in Johannesburg. Although nominations for a number of sites have been submitted to the PHRA there has been no acknowledgement. A major concern across the region remains the state of mining related heritage. Despite the fact that the chief building officer for Ekurhuleni serves on the PHRA the municipality continues to ignore the 60-year provision.
The Alberton Heritage Society is 5 years old which is also how long the organisation has been battling for official recognition. An Eskom proposal to erect highmast powerlines through the town and spruit area is of major concern. The Society is currently working on an inventory in association with the Heritage Portal. Recent projects include the cleaning and fencing of the first town and farm cemetery. The community has responded very positively to this project. There is also an initiative to open a museum – although the building has been badly stripped by security guards appointed to look after the site. Similar challenges are being experienced with the PHRA in that rulings are now systematically being overturned on appeal. In the society’s experience it is important that criminal charges are laid with the police.
13.9 Simon van der Stel (Southern Cape)
The Garden Route is one of the fastest growing areas in the country and is subject to insensitive developments. Often well-intentioned amateurs are doing more harm than good. Four organisations in the area are working together to ensure that these bodies don’t work against each other. While there is now formal cooperation and collective communication, each body will still retain its own identity. The George municipality recently appointed service providers to develop an inventory. The resultant inventory was hugely problematic. The lesson is that municipalities should be thoroughly guided when preparing terms of references.
13.10 Mandela Bay
Mandela Bay Heritage Trust reported that a number of initiatives are currently underway. There is an active comments committee which supports the local PHRA committee for the area and reports to the PHRA. In Nelson Mandela Bay there are 12 historical societies. Therefore the Trust limits its focus to the built environment although there is an initiative to research early Bay music. Growing the membership is still a challenge. Mandela Bay Development Agency is currently investing in the revitalisation of the core historic area and investing in public art. As a result the area around the museum will become an arts centre for Mandela Bay. However, there are still problems in respect to historic houses. In addition, port land owned by Transnet is still a problem. For this reason protests have been organised which have created general media interest in heritage.
No further items were raised. The chair thanked members and adjourned the meeting.
15) DATE OF NEXT MEETING
Members will be informed of the next AGM once a host town/ city has been selected and dates confirmed. The next AGM will be held in October 2015.