Regssosiologiese pluriformiteit, kulturele erfenisreg en die Wet op Nasionale Erfenishulpbronne 25 van 1999

  • A. W. G. Raath University of the Free State, South Africa


Cultural heritage encompasses both moveable and immoveable property and includes art and artefacts, monuments and historical buildings, as well as temples and churches. Despite its importance, cultural heritage has continually been the target of destruction – particularly during times of conflict. The Hague Convention of 1954 was a pioneering attempt at protecting cultural
heritage property on an international scale. It was also the first attempt at defining cultural heritage property as legally protected objects. South Africa ratified this treaty in 2003. This Convention
was followed by the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and National Heritage in 1972 and the Rome Statute of 1998. South Africa subscribed to the 1972 Convention
by adopting the World Heritage Convention Act in 1999 and ratified the Rome Statute of 1998. In addition to international treaties, cultural heritage in South Africa is protected nationally by the
National Heritage Resources Act of 1999. This Act introduces an integrated and interactive system for the management of the national heritage; it aims at promoting good governance of
heritage protection on all levels, and to empower civil society to nurture and conserve their heritage resources. In this article, it is argued that the plurality of legal interests involved in cultural
heritage protection and management can only meaningfully be integrated on the basis of a sound theoretical approach to legal pluralism. The implications of a legal pluralist framework are briefly
discussed and the implications of the distinction between the traditional domains of public and private law interests considered.


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