Firstly, as an interested and affected party in the “Jacaranda City” of Pretoria, we are disappointed that we were not notified of the decision by the PHRAG not to proceed with declaration. The Jacarandas in Pretoria are of a significant cultural and historical significance, and a huge attraction every year for tourism to the city. Pretoria is known and promoted as the Jacaranda City. The streetscapes are also of cultural and heritage significance, and we believe they should be preserved. Certain streets such as Government Avenue in Arcadia in the Union Building precinct have a double row of Jacarandas planted on both sides of the sidewalk, so that the employees at the Union Buildings at the time, could walk home in the shade.
The decision from the Declaration Committee is a serious repudiation of decision made by a previous PHRA-G committee, indicating a lack of coordination. This might lead to the City of Tshwane not taking any PHRAG decision seriously, while recently we have made a breakthrough that this City for the first time admitted that they were not really aware of the PHRAG and are planning to set up a meeting with the authority to ensure that its decisions will be taken seriously.
We believe the decision made is in contrast with decisions made by other committees of the PHRAG in the past. There have been various decisions instructing that Jacaranda trees, especially in Pretoria, should be preserved. Most importantly however, is the intervention of the PHRAG in 2012/13 to save Jacaranda trees being illegally removed by the City of Tshwane when constructing the rapid bus system. This decision has set a precedent that Jacaranda trees are deemed to be of heritage significance and thus worthy of preservation.
As OPERRA we wish to appeal this decision made by the declarations committee.
Linda Tyrrell | OPERRA Chair | OPERRA is an umbrella organisation comprised of 12 contiguous Residents’ & Ratepayers’ Associations (RRAs) in the heritage-sensitive area of the Old East of Pretoria.
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