Vaal Triangle History

1889 - 1902


Klip Power Station

William Stow




1939 - 1945

Peace Negotiations



Riviera Hotel

Vereeniging History

year Hendrik van der Bijl was appointed chairman of the new corporation.
  The Government preferred to think that in building the Pretoria steelworks it would promote further industrial expansion in the private sector. It was clear to Iscor's board members that if Usco succumbed in competition with Iscor, the charge would be laid that rather than promoting industry in the private sector, Iscor was destroying it. Accordingly, the directors of Iscor and Usco entered into negotiations and formulated an agreement which provided for the co-existence of both enterprises. In terms of the agreement Iscor acquired the controlling interest in the Union Steel Corporation; and in its future role Usco was to produce special steels and products which generally would not present competition to Iscor. The board of the Union Steel Corporation ratified the agreement in April 1930 and Vereeniging residents breathed a sigh of relief. The crisis had passed and the town, and its 6,000 residents, were assured of their future.
  Over two years earlier, late in 1927, the availability of steel from Usco had drawn to Vereeniging the world wide tube making company, Stewarts and Lloyds.The company provided a market for Usco's steel at a time when the corporation needed support, and both Stewarts and Lloyds and Usco were to become the primary industries which attracted ancillary industries and finally led to the industrialisation of Vereeniging.
  Lt. Col. Karel Rood, who had accompanied the municipal delegation to Cape Town during the steel­works crisis, directed his early efforts in public affairs towards the establishment of the town's identity.
  When Rood arrived Vereeniging was a sub-magisterial district forming part of both Heidelberg and Potchefstroom, a situation which motivated him as chairman of the Chamber of Commerce to make representations which led to Vereeniging's elevation to the status of an independent magisterial district. Rood's efforts also led to the proclamation of Vereeniging as a separate military district and he became the first commandant of the local Skiet Commando in 1921, an appointment he relinquished when he entered politics. Later, he served as a member of the
Mr. Mallinson is of the opinion that everything possible is being done by his co-directors at present working actively in Cape Town. He holds the opinion that should the Government establish a steelworks in Pretoria, the Vereeniging works will not be closed down, but will remain very much as they were. It is likely, however, that the works at Newcastle will close down."
  At the meeting Leslie said he "did not think the capitalistic outlook should concern the Council very much as the capitalists concerned would look after their own interests."
However, on March 1, Council resolved to send a deputation to Cape Town consisting of Mayor Dickinson, Leslie and Clr. the Rev. L. E. Brandt. It was agreed that Kalie Rood, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, should accompany them.
  On March 10, the delegates went to Cape Town accompanied by the Town Clerk, Gordon Sanders, and gave evidence before a select committee and interviewed members of the Government. A report of the delegation's findings was circulated to Councillors on February 21.
  The directors of Usco lobbied support for their opposition to the Bill with such success that the House appointed a select committee before which the directors of Usco gave evidence. The sub­committee, nevertheless, recommended the Bill which was passed by the Assembly on April 4, 1927. Two months later, the Bill was rejected by the Opposition majority in the Senate. It was re-introduced in the Assembly in October, 1927 and reported to the Senate by the end of the same month. The Senate then appointed its own sub-committee to report on the issue and again Usco board members opposed the Bill in their evidence. The outcome was that the Senate rejected the Bill for the second time on March 23, 1928. The Government then had recourse to a rarely-invoked clause in the South Africa Act which provides for a joint sitting of both Houses when separately they are deadlocked.
  At a joint session on March 30, 1928 the Iron and Steel Industry Act was passed, and it became law on April 14, 1928. Iscor was incorporated by proclamation in a Government Gazette on June 5, 1928 and in August of that
Page 46
Chapter 12: The Steel Crisis