Vaal Triangle History

1889 - 1902


Klip Power Station

William Stow




1939 - 1945

Peace Negotiations



Riviera Hotel

Vereeniging History

  The ravages of disease contributed much towards the rate of mortality during the war. More soldiers died of typhoid than perished in battle on the veld; and the women and children in concentration camps were not spared from the scourge. Despite the efforts of doctors and their assistants to control
hostilities ended and the camp was closed, Evens left Vereeniging.
  As early as 1895, a Miss Lester had run a private school in the village. At the time it was considered inadequate for the number of children residing in the town and a local school committee was formed to approach the resident Justice of the Peace, J. S. N. Hugo, to secure from the Transvaal Government a site for a suitable schoolhouse. The mining company contributed £250 towards the project and promised further annual grants. However, it was only after the war that a permanent public school was established in Vereeniging.
  Before the war had ended the district commis­sioner, Captain Bentinck, co-opted Leslie to form a health service and the two men constituted them­selves as a sanitary committee. Bentinck retained health control of the military establishment and Leslie assumed control of health for the civilian population. A system of hygiene was imposed on the inmates of the concentration camps as well as on the inhabitants of the village.
  In January, 1902, in terms of Government Gazette No. 5 of 1902, the Colonial Secretary of the Trans­vaal appointed a Board to assume control of the town's health services. The members were: E. T. Baines, assistant resident magistrate, chairman; T. N. Leslie, builder; E. M. Goodwin, mine manager; A. Evens, schoolmaster; I. Hughes, hotel keeper.
  This was the first move towards the reinstatement of civil government. Bentinck issued a proclamation which detailed the charges the Health Board would levy for sanitary services, stipulating that the board "must not clear military buckets or rubbish without being paid for the service". Bentinck handed over to Leslie the 'sanitary committee's' bank account and cash which Leslie in turn lodged with the Board's chairman, the assistant magistrate. In taking over the committee's assets and liabilities the Board acquired a credit balance of £23.1s.6d.
  The new Health Board set to work to establish a basic administration in the village which then had a population of about 200 whites and 2,000 Bantu; and, on January 24, 1902, Leslie wrote to the Magistrate of Heidelberg to advise him that "I have the honour to inform you that at a meeting of the
The Residency in 1906. Built for the magistrate the residence (bounded by Victoria and Smuts Avenues and Leslie Street) was demolished in 1937.

outbreaks of disease many died. According to Leslie, the real cause of the high death rate was the extremely low condition of the inmates on their arrival in camp after "flying from the chasing columns. Measles took off upwards of 100 in five or six weeks."

In the camp families lived in tents only a few feet apart. They were unaccustomed to living under any kind of 'urban' conditions and the hygiene required was unknown to them. Some inmates persisted in applying ineffectual 'remedies' for their ailments because of their inherent mistrust of medicaments outside the range of the old Dutch medicines they had known for generations.

During the war, the colliery's schoolmaster, A. Evens, held classes in the concentration camp for the children interned there and for the children of the village who had not fled with their parents. Since the days before the war, Evens had conducted classes in a schoolhouse situated near the Grand Hotel and the Vereeniging railway station. Then when

Chapter 7: Peace and Local Government for the Village
Page 31
The Residency