Here you will find a list of international, national and provincial policy on heritage. Note that not all provinces have enacted heritage legislation. We also provide a summary of important legal cases. You can also download a list of heritage bodies in South Africa and access useful ‘how to’ guides.
International conventions ratified by SA
South Africa has ratified the following international conventions:
Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict with Regulations for the Execution of the Convention. The Hague, 14 May 1954.
Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. Paris, 14 November 1970.
Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. Paris, 16 November 1972.
UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects, Rome, 1995.
Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Paris, 20 October 2005.
Second Protocol to the Hague Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. The Hague, 26 March 1999.
Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. Paris, 2 November 2001.
National legislation and regulations
National Heritage Resources Act, Act 25 of 1999, Government Gazette, 28 April 1999, Vol. 406, No. 19974, Notice No.506.
World Heritage Convention Act, Act 49 of 1999, Government Gazette, 9 December 1999, Vol. 414, No. 20717, Notice No.1485.
Government Gazette, 31 March 2000, Vol. 417, No .2105, Notice No. R.18 (Minister’s regulations).
Government Gazette, 2 June 2000, Vol. 420 No. 21239, Notice No. R.548 (SAHRA regulations).
Government Gazette, 18 December 2015, No. 39533, Notice No. 1258 (Regulations relating to the registration of dealers in heritage objects and the control of trade in heriage objects).
Government Gazette, 17 March 2017, Vol. 621, No. 40691, Notice No. 218 (Standards for conservation and maintenance of heritage resources that are in control of state departments or supported entities).
Provincial Gazette Extraordinary, 10 January 2003, Vol. 9, Notice No. 4 (Gauteng Heritage Resources Authority Regulations, 2002).
KwaZulu-Natal legislation and regulations
KwaZulu-Natal Heritage Act, Act No. 4 of 2008. Provincial Gazette 225, 12 February 2009.
Limpopo Provincial Heritage regulations, No.103 of 2003.
Provincial Gazette Extraordinary, No. 5937, 25 October 2002, PN. 336 (Establishment of Heritage Western Cape and regulations thereto).
Provincial Gazette Extraordinary, No. 6061, 29 August 2003, PN. 298. (Permit application procedures and requirements).
Provincial Gazette, No. 7410, 26 June 2015, PN 201 (Regulations on the Process for Publication of Statements of General Policy and Conservation Management Plans).
Provincial Gazette Extraordinary, No. 7497, 24 September 2015, PN. 324 & PN. 325 (Regulations on the Process for Publication of Statements of General Policy and Conservation Management Plans).
Provincial Gazette Extraordinary, No. 7608, 21 April 2016, PN. 143 (Fees)
Provincial Gazette Extraordinary, No. 7900, 16 March 2018, PN. 42 (Public consultation required for applications made in terms of the NHRA).
Qualidental Laboratories (Pty) Ltd v Heritage Western Cape and Another (647/06)  ZASCA 170;  SCA 170 (RSA);  1 All SA 550 (SCA); 2008 (3) SA 160 (SCA) (30 November 2007).
The judgement (upheld and confirmed in the Supreme Court of Appeal) established that a provincial heritage resources authority may impose a condition that plans for a new development must first be submitted to and approved by the said provincial heritage resources authority.
Gees v Provincial Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Western Cape and Others (974/2015)  ZASCA 136; 2017 (1) SA 1 (SCA) (29 September 2016).
This judgement confirmed that a provincial heritage resources authority, when granting a permit for the alteration, addition or demolition of a structure which is older than 60 years, situated on a property with no formal heritage status, may lawfully impose conditions controlling future development on the property in order to protect other nearby or surrounding heritage resources or areas.
Piketberg Local Heritage Committee & 1 Other vs Liebco Vleishandelaars (Edms) Beperk & 3 Others (Interdict), High Court of South Africa (Western Cape Division, Cape Town), Case no. 1103/2016.
This ruling confirmed the right of conservation bodies to be accorded an opportunity to participate in a heritage permit application.
Heritage bodies in South Africa
By Jacques Stoltz & Tammy Stewart Thinking about pursuing further studies in the heritage sector? We’ve got you covered. Below are some of the programmes on offer at the country’s major institutions. If we’ve missed something, let us know and we will update the...read more
There are two different – and complimentary – approaches to take when doing historical research. These are: Primary research which would typically entail doing interviews with community elders, interviews with subject matter specialists, archival research, site visits...read more
A heritage survey allows you to systematically identify and record heritage resources in your community. For your survey you may wish to focus purely on the built environment although you can also opt to document sites associated with intangible heritage. What is a...read more
Tel: +27 (0)33 394 6543
Tel: +27 (0)43 642 2811
Tel: +27 (0)51 410 4750
Tel: +27 (0)21 483 9598
Tel: +27 (0)51 284 4000
Tel: +27 (0)13 766 5198
(Provincial Heritage Resources Authority of the Northern Cape)
Tel: +27 (0)79 036 9695
Tel: +27 (0)11 355 2545
Tel: +27 (0)21 462 4502