The MEC of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais, says the declaration follows Heritage Western Cape’s submission to the South African Heritage Resource Authority.
In August 2019, Marais unveiled the Provincial Heritage Site plaque for erf 11553: inclusive of the Rocklands Community Hall, the library, the Memorial Square and the Community Healthcare Centre in Mitchell’s Plain.
As a result of in-depth research, following the relevant official processes and interested parties requesting the site be upgraded to a National Heritage Site, the socio-political significance of the Rocklands Community Hall can now be highlighted as a National Heritage Site.
Held at this iconic location, the meeting in which the UDF was established in 1983, was the start of the largest socio-political movement that united South Africans from diverse backgrounds to fight against the injustices of apartheid. Campaigning around issues of housing, education and the unjust status quo of the time, the UDF initially represented 500 organisations from all sectors of society. The Front’s eventual affiliates included trade unions, youth and students, women’s and religious groups, civic associations and political parties. Within a few years, it embraced almost 1000 affiliated groups.
National Heritage Site status immediately provides the full protection to these sites described in the National Heritage Resources Act (1999).
Minister Marais said, “The declaration of the Rocklands Community Hall as a National Heritage Site is indeed welcomed by the Western Cape Government as we can all agree that the value of the Rocklands community complex lies in its societal nature, amplified by its socio-political significance. We look forward to collaboratively sharing the significance of the newly declared National Heritage Site of erf 11553 at the Rocklands Community Hall and thank all who had a hand in the approval of the National Heritage Site status. We are indeed grateful to each stakeholder as you have contributed to a community’s sense of place, belonging and purpose and unleashed its potential to yield information contributing to a wider understanding of the history of co-existence in the Western Cape”.