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National Heritage Resources Act, 1999 (Act No. 25 of 1999)


Identified Types of Objects that are Protected, and may not be Exported without a Permit from the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA)


Notice No. 587 of 2019

18 April 2019

GG 42407


Department of Arts and Culture

The South African Heritage Resources Agency


This notice supersedes Government Notice No. 1512 published in Government Gazette No. 24116 of 06 December 2002.


In terms of section 32 of the National Heritage Resources Act No 25 of 1999 (NHRA), and its definitions in section 2, the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) hereby describes the types of heritage objects that are protected in terms of the National Heritage Resources Act and for which an application to obtain a permit from SAHRA must be made to determine whether they may be temporarily or permanently exported, or not.


1. Introduction


In line with the provisions of the NHRA, the SAHRA hereby identifies heritage objects for which a permit is required if they are intended to be exported from South Africa. These objects are incorporated into the South African Revenue Services’ (SARS) Prohibited and Restricted Goods List (the List) which is accessible on, Permit applications for temporary or permanent export must be made online on the South African Heritage Resources Information System (SAHRIS), accessible on In order to do so, go to SAHRA’s website,, click on "SAHRIS", register as an applicant and view tutorials that guide the application process. There is also a Guideline for Applicants available.


2. Definitions


All items defined in the provisions of section 2 of the NHRA shall have the same meaning in these regulations.


3. Types of Heritage Objects


The following types of heritage objects or parts and components thereof, excluding any objects made by any living person are deemed to be heritage objects and are subject to the provisions of the NHRA:


3.1. Natural History collections and specimens, in particular type specimens in all disciplines including zoological, paleontological and botanical specimens:
3.2. Rare geological specimens from South Africa with scientific or cultural significance; and
3.3. Objects assessed according to criteria in S32(24) of the NHRA and identified as being of cultural, historical or aesthetic significance, whether originating in South Africa or elsewhere, that have been in South Africa for more than 50 years which includes:
3.3.1. Domestic artefacts including, but not limited to, ceramics, metals, carved wood, leather and stone;
3.3.2. Clothing, beadwork, bags, snuffboxes, jewellery, musical instruments and other personal items of dress, recreation and ritual, of whatever material, and including items associated with particular historical events or individuals;
3.3.3. Tools with particular historical or history of technology associations or forming part of Indigenous Knowledge Systems;
3.3.4. Objects of technological historical interest including vehicles, transportation, or machinery and equipment;
3.3.5. Weapons including firearms, traditional weapons and other military objects of South African cultural, historical or technological significance;
3.3.6. Items of numismatic (medals and coins) significance;
3.3.7. Philatelic items of significance, including seals and inscriptions;
3.3.8. Manuscripts, books, documents or publications relating to South African life and history, or that are otherwise deemed of special interest and importance to South African heritage;
3.3.9. South African archival records, including written records, maps and other cartographic materials, prints, photographs, cinematographic films, sound recordings and machine-readable records are listed in the national registers of manuscripts, printed and digital media, photographs, audio-visual material or oral sources.
3.3.10. Archaeological artefacts and materials found in South Africa and in its territorial waters and maritime cultural zone;
3.3.11. South African furniture, tapestries, carpets or any other miscellaneous household furnishing that have been in South Africa for 100 years and more.
3.3.12. Furniture and furnishings that have been in South Africa for 100 years and more;
3.3.13. Awards and associated memorabilia associated with significant figures awarded in South Africa, or awarded to South Africans;
3.4. Objects of artistic interest that have been in South Africa for more than 50 years, whether originating in South Africa or elsewhere, and that are of notable aesthetic, cultural or historical significance. This includes:
3.4.1. Paintings, drawings and sculptures produced by hand and in any material;
3.4.2. Prints, posters and photographs, produced in traditional or digital media, and creative assemblages of these;
3.4.3. Original artistic assemblages and montages in any material, including original electronic media;
3.4.4. Works of statuary art and sculpture in general; and
3.4.5. Art works in materials including, but not limited to, glass, ceramics, metal and wood.
3.5. Objects related to significant political processes, events, figures and leaders in South Africa.
3.6. Objects related to significant South Africans, including but not limited to; writers, artists, musicians, scientists, academics, educators, engineers and clerics as well as events of national importance.
3.7. All fabric deemed to form part of the significance of buildings or structures on a site of cultural or historical significance, including, objects or material of both tangible and intangible heritage value.
3.7.1. Original fabric, if it is older than 60 years, that is, door and window fittings, hardware, windows, lights and light fittings (light switches, brass attachments, chandeliers and fixed wall lights), furniture (fitted and or built-in), furnishings, doors, doorjambs/doorframes, clerestory windows, skylights, roof- and floor tiles, all precious and ornate metal works, metal elements, including guttering/roofing and other building materials, that is, ceramic tiles and clay-straw-bricks (demonstrating technological evolution) removed from South African historical buildings during construction, renovation (conservation) and actions of restoration;
3.7.2. Any materials of both tangible and intangible heritage value removed from a building, structure or a site (including interior and exterior) that has a strong or special association with the life or work of a person, group or organisation of importance in the history of South Africa.
3.8. Items relating to the history of South African science, education, technology and engineering that are older than fifty years.


4. Criteria


A heritage object or objects shall be assessed based on criteria set out in S3.3 and S32 (24) of the NHRA. Export permits may be refused if the object fulfils the criteria and “is of such a degree of national importance that its loss to South Africa would significantly diminish the national heritage”, and is

4.1.1. extraordinary, rare or unique in South Africa;
4.1.2. the prototype, first production unit, first of a type, a variation of a type; an example of a type modified to suit South African conditions; an example of a type designed in South Africa;
4.1.3. an example of a type wholly intended for use or suited to South Africa, regardless of origin; an example of a type, whether South African in origin or not, which is rare or scarce in South Africa’ or the last of a type or only example thereof;
4.1.4. a heritage object of national and international significance;
4.1.5. associated with, made or conceived by a particular person, whether famous or not, in the South African context;
4.1.6. associated with an event, whether famous or not, in the South African context.


Applications to either permanently or temporarily export any of the above objects must be made to SAHRA. The applicants must make use of the South African Heritage Resources Information System (SAHRIS).