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Oranjezicht, Cape Town, Western Cape

ANDREWS and NIEGEMAN: Restoration Architect c1960

Date:1782 : c1960
Style:Cape Dutch
Street:Gorge Road


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33°56'26.86" S 18°25'03.93" E Alt: 99m

Information from the back of a picture card issued by Parliament pre-1994:

“Rheezicht, the official residence of the Speaker of the House of Assembly, is situated in Oranjezicht, Cape Town, at the foot of Table Mountain and is the only remaining 18th century Cape Dutch house with a pitched roof and gables in the central part of the city.

The land upon which Rheezicht stands was granted to Johannes Jacobus Tesselaar by Joachim van Plettenberg in 1779. Tesselaar sold it to Alexander van Breda in 1782, the deed of transfer was signed on 18 November of that year, and Van Breda had the house built shortly afterwards. Subsequently he sold the house to his brother, however, and in 1786 he bought part of the property known as Boshof in Newlands.

Alexander van Breda was a grandson of Pieter van Breda, the first Van Breda to settle in South Africa and the founder of the Oranjezicht estate, which is today a residential area.

Rheezicht remained in the possession of the Van Bredas until 1852. In 1958 it was purchased by a company with the intention of demolishing it in order to build flats on the site, but the public and the press made strong representations that the building be preserved for posterity. By means of a donation made by an insurance company and contributions from the public the property was purchased thus saving the building from being demolished. It was then handed over to the State to be restored.

The restored Rheezicht was used as a ministerial residence from 1962 and has since 1966 been the official residence of the Speaker of the House of Assembly.”

The homestead is currently (2020) used again as a ministerial residence.

It was restored by Andrews and Niegemann for the Department of Public Works c.1960.

From Hans Fransen’s “The Old Houses of the Cape” (1965), p23: The gable was damaged by fire earlier in this [20th] century; the date on it, which must have been 1782, became partly illegible and was wrongly restored to read 1724.”

Rheezicht was declared a National Monument in 1984, and became a provincial heritage site in 1993. See SAHRIS

Submitted by Lila Komnick.

Books that reference Rheezicht

Fransen, Hans & Cook, Mary Alexander. 1965. The old houses of the Cape : a survey of the existing buildings in the traditional style of architecture of the Dutch-settled regions of the Cape of Good Hope. Cape Town: AA Balkema. pg 23