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  “Village Building Guidelines” 

De Rust’s unique mix of fine architecture, tree lined streets, water furrows (lei-water), agricultural character and spectacular mountain views in every direction create character and charm but also reflect the village’s heritage.  The future prosperity of the Village depends on successful conservation of this heritage. It is this character that draws tourists and newcomers to De Rust. Through conservation, an attractive environment for tourism and trade is created thus promoting economic vitality and long-term sustainability. 

Each property owner is an important role player in the conservation process. A well preserved “heritage” building not only provides greater value for the owner but also contributes to the overall prosperity of the Village as a whole. 

These guidelines are aimed at assisting owners when they wish to effect changes to their properties. In terms of the National Heritage Resources Act of 1999 no building older than 60 years may be demolished, destroyed, damaged or removed without a Permit from the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA). These guidelines are also those applicable to the Greater Oudtshoorn Municipal Area in terms of the construction, alteration and erection of boundary walls, gates and fences for  all properties older than 60 years old.  

Owners are legally bound to apply for a Permit to effect alterations of any kind to their properties. The De Rust Heritage Conservation Association is here to assist property owners in this regard and on request. 

Proposals for subdivision, rezoning, consolidation of erven as well as departures from existing zoning requires advertising and final approval from the Oudtshoorn Municipality. 


Submission of Plans 

Submission of building plans in a “Heritage Sensitive Area” such as De Rust should initially be presented to the Joint Heritage Permit Committee for approval. Once approval has been granted by the Joint Heritage Permit Committee the plans can be presented to the Municipality and Heritage Western Cape for final approval. 


Roof Coverings 

Victorian profile corrugated iron sheeting is traditional in De Rust. Other traditional roofing of the “Heritage Era” includes thatch and flat puddle clay “brakdak” on a reed ceiling behind parapets. Note: All other roofing types are not allowed including IBR Sheeting, cement tiles or slate. In addition, dormer windows are also not encouraged. 


Roof Pitch 

The roof pitch should generally be between 38 degrees and 45 degrees other than when a flat roof behind a parapet is employed. 


Walls and Pillars 

The traditional method of construction was sun-dried clay or mud bricks which were then plastered and painted. Note: No facebrick or bagged brickwork is permitted. In addition, pillars should be in keeping with the basic Victorian character of existing properties. 



Smooth or roughcast often with plaster moldings around windows and doors. Quoining on the corners and around doors and windows is also relatively common. Note: Spanish style plaster is to be avoided. 


Verandas and Stoeps 

Verandas/stoeps are an important feature of the De Rust streetscape and varying profiles are common around the Village. These were mainly used to protect the house from the severe weather elements – rain and sun. 

The open verandah often ran parallel to the street, sometimes with diamond windows at the sides. Vertical sash windows and front doors opened on to the verandah with the roof being supported by either timber posts or plaster pillars. Fretted and painted timber is typical of the Klein Karoo and were made to represent the imported cast iron decorative details of the more affluent Cape Winelands. Stoep floors were generally timber boards. When alterations are carried out the removal of built-in rooms on the stoeps is encouraged. Note: Wherever possible hard tile/brick floors are discouraged. 


Windows and Doors 

Windows and doors are important features and should sympathetically compliment the overall design of the building. Wherever possible the traditional relationship between walls and openings in any wall plane is that it should not have more than 30% voids. 



Wooden windows should be proportioned “vertically” with the typical glazing subdivision of casement sash or casement fenestration. Painted timber with white opening sections is common. Painted wooden shutters have distinct practical uses providing both shade and security and add character to the facade. Internal reveal shutters are common in larger houses. 

It is preferable to use two vertically proportioned windows to achieve the desired window area, symmetrically arranged on the outer façade. Dormer windows are not part of the traditional streetscape and certainly not in buildings more than 60 years old. Note: Avoid steel framed windows with horizontal proportions or large areas of uninterrupted glass. These are out of character and also unsuited to the prevailing climate in the Klein Karoo. 



In most cases the traditional timber front entrance door comprises double arched panels with a fanlight. The door is placed centrally in the façade and most times painted. Note: Avoid the replacement of the front door with a modern door design in a traditional façade. 



Limewash was previously used on old buildings and can still be used if required. However, there are a number of modern water based paints available on the market which do a superior job of protecting the building while at the same time allowing it to “breathe”. This applies to both exterior and interior surfaces. White or pastel shades are recommended with key mouldings being painted in a contrasting colour. Note: Avoid bright or deep colours on external walls. 


Height Restrictions 

No point of any building or any portion thereof shall exceed the maximum height prescribed. The maximum height allowed is measured from the mean ground level. 

The Mean Ground Level is defined as the natural heel of the ground under the footprint of the building, including all outbuildings attached to the building, even if there is no access from one to the other. On sloping sites the height from Mean Ground Level to the lowest natural ground level of the footprint of the house may not exceed 1 m (1 meter). 

From Mean Ground Level to Wall Plate: 4.5 m 

From Mean Ground Level of the Highest Point of the Building: 6.8 m 


Building Lines 

The interface between house and street is very important – especially along streets where most of the houses follow traditional street building lines. It is encouraged that new houses be placed sympathetically to the neighbouring streetscape rather than be placed at an angle to maximize on view. 


        Additions to Existing Buildings 

       Where an existing building is being extended care should be taken not to change its original character. Should a second dwelling         be built it should not dominate the existing structure or negatively affect the existing streetscape. 


Boundary Walls, Gates and Fencing       

Guidelines for Heritage Property Owners: Gates and Fences        

        Gates: The design of all gates for Heritage Properties should conform to the basic Klein Karoo architectural style of the building         and its immediate neighborhood.  In all cases photographs of the streetscape are required.

         Construction Type: Gates should ideally be either farm style or wood. Solid metal gates are not permitted, nor are other types falling outside         the approved Klein Karoo architectural style.  In addition, gates should as far as possible match the height of the front fence – between 1.2 to 1.5         meters high.     


        Fences: The fences on the street boundary are restricted to a maximum height of 1.2 meters. All other fences are allowed to be a         maximum of no more than 1.8 meters high.

       Construction Type: Ideally farm style wire fencing is preferred. However, where this is not appropriate detailed plans of the proposed fencing            as well as photographs of the surrounding area must be provided for consideration.            


        Palisade fencing is not recommended but in cases where this is used may not exceed 1.2 m on the street boundary. Plastered         and painted brickwork can be used, topped with sloping copings to a height of 1,2 m on the street boundary and with a         maximum of 1.8 m on the rear or side boundary. All other forms of walling are not allowed. 


        General Notes: Where security is considered an issue, palisade and other fencing types may be allowed under certain circumstances. However,         detailed plans for this type of protection and the proposed type of construction to be used must be provided prior to any construction         commencing.