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Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape (South Africa) (C 1099)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 2003

Criteria (ii) (iii) (iv) (v)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger N/A

Previous Committee Decisions N/A

International Assistance N/A

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds N/A

Previous monitoring missions N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

  • a)

    Lack of a proper buffer zone

  • b)

    Lack of a management plan

  • c)

    Mining activities

  • d)

    Development pressure

Illustrative material http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1099

Current conservation issues

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies were alerted through press reports to the granting in February 2010 of a coal mining permit to an Australian company, Coal of Africa Ltd (CoA), in an area immediately to the east of the Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape World Heritage property. The proposed Vele Colliery is located 50 km west of Musina, an area about 7 km from the property boundaries. The mining licence is for the extraction of coal that will be used to feed a coal–fired power station for which there is also a proposal. The press reports indicated that the mining permit was issued by the Department of Minerals and Energy against a recommendation of the Department of Environmental Affairs that overseas the Limpopo-Shashe Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA) and the Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape.

On 9 March 2010 the Director of the World Heritage Centre wrote to the State Party requesting them to provide, as a matter of urgency, a report on the state of conservation of the property that addressed the mining issue. At the time of drafting this report (May 2010), no state of conservation report has been received from the State Party.

Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape extends to 30,000 ha and to its north borders the Limpopo River that separates South Africa from Botswana and Zimbabwe. The property is protected by a buffer zone of 100,000 ha that was stated in the nomination to surround the property south of the international border. At the time of inscription, a Trilateral Memorandum of Understanding had been drawn up between South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe with the objective of establishing the TFCA; this very extensive area of some 5,040 km2 would surround the property when established, and would, it was said, constitute a very effective buffer zone. Subsequently an agreement of understanding between the three countries has been signed and what remains to be done is for the treaty to be compiled. It appears that

State of conservation of World Heritage properties inscribed on the World Heritage List

WHC-10/34.COM/7B.Add, p. 89

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