Demolished buildings: Does the ANC and Minister De Lille not care about South Africa’s heritage?

Issued by Madeleine Hicklin – DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure
16 Oct 2022 in News

The DA will request the Heritage Resource Agency (SAHRA) to investigate the circumstances that led to the demolition of historical buildings on the grounds of the Union Buildings.

This after the The ANC’s Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD) illegally demolished the historic Green Houses known as Vredehuis in 2016 that it was leasing from the National Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (NDPWI).

To date, not a single thing has been done about this.

This was revealed in an answer to a question posed by me to Minister Patricia de Lille after I have been trying to get answers as to why these builldings are now mere shells.

See photos here, here and here.

These buildings have been invaded by vagrants with free access to any passers by through destroyed and broken palisade fencing.

Vredehuis was once the proud home to the Gauteng State Veterinary Services, The Plant Protection Research Institute and the National Collection of Insects and Mycology Section of the Plant Protection Research Institute.

Today the remnants of the buildings can clearly be seen by the many tourists who drive by the once beautiful gardens, and the residents of Tshwane who are forced to deal with a national heritage and National Key Point site that has been vandalised, abused and damaged by an uncaring ANC government for years.

The Minister also confirmed that, despite the site being protected in terms of the South African National Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) and the National Heritage Resources Act, Section 24 and Section 9 which determines that written consent must be given before any renovations or demolition is undertaken, none such application was made – and no permission for any for any work to be done on the buildings (much less demolitions) was given.

The Minister said “no approval to demolish or reconstruct the Glass Houses was given by SAHRA” and the tenant “illegally demolished the Glass Houses”.

Nowever, she has remained totally silent on any consequence management meted out to GDARD.

Her office merely said the remedy process would require “reconstruction” of the Glass Houses and it is not “practically feasible” as the original material and detailing are no longer available.

The greenhouses’ authenticity and cultural architectural significance were borne out of a particular structural and architectural detailing, materials and equipment which, once lost to destruction, are irreplaceable.

But the question remains: how was GDARD allowed to destroy a National Heritage Site in the first place? Is there no pride in South Africa’s heritage?

Does the ANC not place any importance on heritage in South Africa?