South African Heritage Resources Agency notification of the intention to declare two known signed and authenticated copies the Freedom Charter

Notification of the intention to declare two known signed and authenticated copies the freedom charter as a specifically declared heritage object in terms of section 32 of the national heritage resources act no. 25 of 1999

This notice serves as an announcement of the intention of the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) to declare two known signed and authenticated copies of the Freedom Charter signed by the presidents of the five participating organizations involved in the 1955 Congress of the People in terms of Section 32 of the National Heritage Resources Act No. 25 of 1999 (“NHRA”) as “Specifically Declared Heritage Objects”.

SAHRA has identified these copies of the Freedom Charter, after having conducted research into the existence of an original draft, as having qualities so exceptional that they are of special national significance and warrant the most stringent heritage protection afforded by the NHRA.

It is accepted that there are many copies of the Freedom Charter including handwritten drafts and dated but unsigned copies. The declaration of the two signed copies is the beginning of a serial declaration which will include pre- and post- adoption documents such as documents from the 1955 Congress of People, the One Million Signature Campaign as well as the 25th Anniversary and adoptions by COSAS and UDF. The significance of the Freedom Charter lies in the democratic process taken to document the demands and desires that the majority South Africans wanted for a free South Africa. It formed the basis of the Struggle going forward as well as the Constitution of South Africa. These signed copies represent the endorsement of the Freedom Charter by the African National Congress, South African Indian Congress, South African Coloured People’s Organisation, South African Congress of Democrats, and the South African Congress of Trade Unions.

Please note that in accordance with the provisions of section 32 of the NHRA, after declaration of the Freedom Charter, SAHRA must issue a permit for any alterations, restoration, and export of any of the two copies declared. Any heritage object may only leave South Africa through a customs port of entry and a relevant export permit be produced to a customs official. It is the responsibility of the owner or custodian of a heritage object to keep the object in good condition and in a secure place and any damage or loss must be reported to SAHRA immediately. Please refer section 32 (13), (15), (16), (17), (19), and (20) of the NHRA for more information.

You are hereby given 60 (sixty) calendar days in terms of section 32 (5(i), (ii), (iii)) of the NHRA to make written submissions or lodge objections to SAHRA. Should you wish to comment on the proposed declaration, please make written submissions to the following postal address: SAHRA P.O. Box 4637, Cape Town 8001. Alternatively you may submit via email to the following mail addresses: hweldon@sahra.org.za; nngcai@sahra.org.za, or Fax (021) 462 4509,

Should you have any queries in this regard, and/or have any further information regarding other signed copies or the original Freedom Charter, please do not hesitate to contact: Mrs Heidi Weldon at hweldon@sahra.org.za or Mrs. Regina Isaacs at risaacs@sahra.org.za

Source:  South African Heritage Resources Agency http://www.sahra.org.za

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