A high-cost development planned for Bo-Kaap came to a grinding halt after Heritage Western Cape (HWC) granted provisional and provincial protection for two addresses under inspection. Locals said the iconic heritage and surroundings would be under threat should the development proceed at 148 and 150 Butiengracht street. The association called for provincial protection for 148 Buitengracht Street and provisional protection of 150 Buitengracht Street.
Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers Association chairperson Osman Shaboodien said the property to be declared heritage is the same block as the Auwal Masjid, a mosque in the historic neighbourhood, recognised as the first mosque established in the country. The proposed construction is a 9-storey mixed-use development which includes retail and short-term rentals with only five parking bays.
Bo-Kaap residents said it was out of character with the historic Bo-Kaap buildings.
“We are grateful that it can be a heritage site; the site itself could be protected against any unsightly development in front of it. We are thrilled about it. We are encouraging all the residents that are interested in this to participate in this,” stated Shaboodien.
A 60-day public participation process will get underway and depending on comments received on the site a provincial status would be granted.
However, Western Cape Property Development Forum Chairperson, Deon van Zyl said development is a long-winded process and does not happen in the blink of an eye.
“Development does not take place ‘willy nilly’ it’s not something that happens overnight, the reality is the developer is a change maker that reads the market need and then facilitates change to accommodate the market,” described Van Zyl.
Van Zyl added the construction industry is bleeding.
“The reality is the construction site has been hit the hardest and what is even more concerning for us is that we are losing skills daily. People that are exiting the construction industry because it has to be noted that developers are only as good as contractors that are able to execute the project,” explained Van Zyl.
“We are seeing blood on the walls we are very concerned about the labour, we are concerned about the artisans, and we have been calling on government to fat track public sector projects just to sustain the contracting industry,” said Van Zyl.
However, above all Van Zyl has kept a positive outlook.
“It is bad times but we will get through this,” smiled Van Zyl.