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South African cultural heritage portal launched

South Africa: South Africans will now be able to air their views online regarding the protection of their cultural heritage through the South African Heritage Resources Agency”s (SAHRA”s) web-based database portal.

The South African Heritage Resource Information System is available on www.sahra.org.za/sahris.

The portal is an exciting, first-of-its-kind initiative in the country, said SAHRA public relations officer, Berri Samuels.

“It takes SA heritage and puts everything into one place; it is accessible by all South Africans, through visiting the website and registering,” she said.

“This is an administrative tool that can be used by Heritage Resource Management and other bodies.”

Samuels said the website was created in a way that will show all online users how to explore the site and guide them on how to create and submit their applications.

“All records created from now on may be recorded, tracked and followed up by users,” she said, adding that the applications include permits for archaeology, sites, heritage objects, graves and wrecks.

According to Samuels, decisions about permit applications are recorded and may now be tracked online.

“This is great progress for accessibility, transparency, prevention of loss and delays. The public may even use the web portal as a means to submit a nomination site for declaration,” she said.

Project manager Nick Wiltshire said with the introduction of the web portal, all permit applications are now being submitted and recorded online.

“It”s fully digitalised, it”s paperless and it uses a very sophisticated GIS platform and is the first website in the world where people can see a map with all the developments taking place across the country,” he said.

“If people think that a particular proposed development in their area will result in the demolition of their heritage site, they can visit the web portal and express their objections or even leave messages of support.”

Source: SA Info