1. Introduction

The article focuses on the ownership of both movable and immovable heritage resources in South Africa. Challenges of ownership under the current heritage legislation will be explored, with a focus on selected sections of the legislation. Opportunities presented by the same heritage legislation will be identified. I conclude by presenting opinions about what I consider to be the best approach to the ownership of heritage resources.

Ownership of every kind is contested. This opposes those with power to decide against those who are simply in a position to accept the decision that has been made. Social consultation is often the foundation of this relationship, and such a process happens within predefined boundaries set up by heritage legislation. However, in a true sense, such consultation can simply be seen as an information-sharing session, where those with power inform the powerless of the decisions to be taken. And where there is likely to be protest, the powerless are reminded of the powers granted to those in management. Such powers define the framework under which decisions can be taken. Similar struggles of ownership and challenges with social consultations are applicable in the management of heritage resources in South Africa.


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