Herbert Prins

On 15 September 2016, the South African Heritage Resources Agancy (SAHRA) hosted a colloquium on 'Heritage and Development'. Heritage expert Herbert Prins attended and presented a paper arguing that the heritage resources management system has failed to achieve its purpose and that until equlibrium is restored there is no chance of achieving a balance between heritage conservation and development. The full paper is published below.

[Originally published January 2014 - Click here to view updates  For almost four years there has been controversy relating to a proposed addition to the 18th century warehouse in the Lutheran Church block in Strand Street. The structure has been altered radically over the years and, today, it is prized for its landmark importance; its context in the close association it has with the historical Lutheran Church and the culturally significant structures in Strand Stre

In or around 1970, when the Department of Dramatic Art was about to open the following year, I was visited by John van Zyl and Art de Villiers, who had been appointed to the staff of the Dramatic Art Department.  They were in a bit of a panic because notwithstanding that the Department was opening in a matter of a few weeks, no provision had been made for a performing venue.


The following letter has been sent to us by the Egoli Heritage Foundation (EHF). It is a response to the piece 'Painting the Town Pink' written by the team from Urban Joburg and published on 5 September [it appears as though it has been taken down since]. The letter adds nuance to the recent 'Pink Buildings Debate' and adds important analysis on the crisis facing the heritage sector. The final paragraph is worth repeating up front...

I write on behalf of the Egoli Heritage Foundation to comment on the action of a few demonstrators who, in what appears to be an act of desperation in the face of frustration at what is happening in the city, painted a number of structures deemed to be of cultural significance, bright pink.

We are saddened that the state of our democracy has led to such frustration and this in turn, to the destruction of a part of the nation’s heritage.

Since February this year members of the heritage lobby have been attending meetings with the Department of Public Works discussing the development of the Marshall Street Police Barracks and the site they call 85 Anderson Street. We were more than sceptical at the first meeting, became even more suspicious when no heritage architect was appointed, so only at the final meeting on 18th May did we accept their bona fides and really enjoy the discussions.  

It is claimed that the upgrading of the Jack Mincer Taxi facility will take 18 to 20 months to complete and that public safety issues (amongst other reasons) preclude the structure being used during building operations.  Therefore it is suggested that as a temporary measure the taxis may be relocated to Joubert Park.  This, on the face of it, would seem to be a realistic proposal, particularly in the light of the other reasons that the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) advances for this strategy.  Therefore to protest against the proposal, as some have done,

Subscribe to Herbert Prins