04 July 2005

African heritage sites ‘safe’ from delisting

MINISTER of Arts and Culture, Dr Pallo Jordan, has assured that no African World Heritage Sites risk delisting when the World Heritage Committee convenes for its 29th session in Durban from July 10-17.

Jordan was responding to concerns about the state of maintenance at some of Africa's sites, particularly Robben Island, which was reported to be at risk of being delisted because it failed to meet WHC maintenance regulations.

"Robben Island was never at risk of being delisted," said Jordan. "There were certain problems with maintenance of the site but the WHC felt that we have to find a balance between conservation, authenticity and the public use of the site."

In relation to African sites, Jordan commented that at the last annual WHC session in Suzhou, China, "a number of sites were considered for delisting if nothing is done" to maintain them. It was for this reason that the WHC has set up the African World Heritage Fund, which will channel money into ailing sites in need of maintenance.

Meanwhile, the Vredefort Dome in the Free State is up for inscription as South Africa's seventh World Hertiage Site, along with the addition of the Makapans Valley and Taung Skull Fossil site to the Cradle of Humankind. The inscription of new World Heritage Sites worldwide will be announced on July 15.

Source: www.travelinfo.co.za


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