Dutch Reformed Church, Vereeniging
|Motto: Per Pacem Ad Industriam
("From peace to industry")
|• Total||188.19 km2 (72.66 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1,479 m (4,852 ft)|
|• Density||530/km2 (1,400/sq mi)|
|Racial makeup (2011)|
|• Black African||55.0%|
|First languages (2011)|
|Postal code (street)||1930|
Vereeniging (Afrikaans pronunciation: [fəˈrɪənəχəŋ]) is a city in Gauteng province, South Africa, situated where the Klip River empties into the northern loop of the Vaal River. It is also one of the constituent parts of the Vaal Triangle region and was formerly situated in the Transvaal province. The name Vereeniging is derived from the Dutch word meaning "association" or "union".
Vereeniging is situated in the southern part of Gauteng Province, and its neighbors are Vanderbijlpark (to the west), Three Rivers (east), Meyerton (north) and Sasolburg (south). The city is currently one of the most important industrial manufacturing centres in South Africa, with its chief products being iron, steel, pipes, bricks, tiles and processed lime.
In 1879, George William Stow was commissioned by the Orange Free State government to look for coal deposits in the Bethlehem district:17 With no deposits found he moved northwards to Maccauvlei on the Vaal River and then crossed the river to the Transvaal side. On the farm Leeuwkuil, he found a coal deposits twelve feet thick.:17 But the Orange Free State government believed that it was too far away and there was a lack of transport so turned down the idea of mining.:17 Stow settled in Kimberley in order to find a job where he met Samuel Marks who realized after hearing the formers story, the opportunity for coal at the Kimberley diamond fields for energy generation.:17 Marks formed the De Zuid Afrikaanshe en Oranje Vrystaatsche Kolen and Mineralen Vereeniging (South African and Orange Free State Coal and Mineral Association) and sent Stow to purchase the farms where the coal was found.:17 On the 25 November 1880 he purchased the farm Leeuwkuil for £5,000 and 12,000 acres.:18 Marks' agent J.G. Fraser would purchase the farm Klipplaatdrift of 6,000 acres from Karl August Pretorius in October 1881 for ₤15,500. This was opposite the farm Maccauvlei.:18 From 1881, coal was taken by ox-wagon to Kimberley and by 1882 there was so much development that there was a need to survey a village on the two farms and the Volksraad agreed naming it after the company's shortened name Vereeniging.:18
Second Boer War
The city is the location where the Treaty of Vereeniging ending the Second Boer War (1899–1902) was negotiated by the delegates of the South African Republic, Orange Free State and the British Empire. During this conflict, a concentration camp was set up by the British military in the area. The concentration camp at Vereeniging was set up in September 1900, and by October 1901 housed 185 men, 330 women, and 452 children. Conditions at the camp were very poor: water was brought by cart (there was no direct water supply) and there were only 24 latrines. Most inmates lived in bell-tents but there was a dispensary and a school. Today, the Maccauvlei Golf Course is on the site of the concentration camp.
Vereeniging was one of the first municipalities in South Africa to provide better housing for Africans. Near Vereeniging is the predominantly black community of Sharpeville, Gauteng, the site of the Sharpeville massacre in 1960.
Trade and industry
The city's motto is Per Pacem ad Industriam (Through peace to industry). It is currently one of the most important industrial manufacturing centres in South Africa, with its chief products being iron, steel, pipes, bricks, tiles and processed lime. Several coal mines are also still situated in the area, with reserves being estimated at four billion tons. Other mines nearby extract fire-clay, silica and building stone. Vereeniging also has several Eskom thermal power plants that supply electricity to the nearby goldmines.
Vereeniging has been mentioned jokingly as the town in South Africa which has the most vehicle dealerships per square metre.
Suburbs and municipality
In the census of 2001 the population of Vereeniging was recorded as 73,283.
Vereeniging consists of 29 suburbs, of which 7 forms part of Three Rivers:
- Arcon Park & -Proper
- Bedworth Park
- Falcon Ridge
- Fisheagle Estate (Three Rivers)
- Kubali (Three Rivers)
- Peacehaven & -Proper
- Risiville (Three Rivers)
- Roodt's Gardens
- Sonland Park
- Spider Valley
- Steel Park
- Three Rivers (Three Rivers)
- Three Rivers Proper (Three Rivers)
- Three Rivers East (Three Rivers)
- Unitas Park
- Vereeniging Central
- Zuikerbosch Estate (Three Rivers)
Since 1999, Vereeniging has been part of the Emfuleni Local Municipality, along with Vanderbijlpark and the smaller Three Rivers.
Various health services are available in Vereeniging. The majority of these services are located in or near the major medical centres. These include:
- Vereeniging Medi-Clinic
- Midvaal Private Hospital
- Kopanong Hospital
- Sebokeng Hospital
- Nkanyezi Private Hospital
- Johan Heyns Hospital
- The Vaal High School (English medium)
- 3 Rivers Christian Academy (English medium - ACE)
- Milton Primary (English medium)
- Suikerbos Laerskool (Afrikaans medium)
- Handhawer Laerskool (Afrikaans medium)
- Sonland Park Laerskool (Afrikaans & English)
- Unitas Park Laerskool (Afrikaans medium)
- Selborne Primary (English medium)
- Arcon Park Primary (English medium)
- Three Rivers Laerskool (English & Afrikaans)
- Vryheidsmonument Laerskool (Afrikaans medium)
- Risiville Laerskool (Afrikaans medium)
- Vereeniging Gimnasium (Afrikaans medium, Amalgamation of Vereeniging High School and Technical High School Vereeniging)
- Three Rivers High (Afrikaans & English)
- Overvaal High (Afrikaans medium)
- Riverside High (English medium)
- General Smuts High (English medium)
- Word of Life School (English medium - CIE)
- Phoenix High (English medium)
- A campus of the University of South Africa
- Damelin College
- Sedibeng College
- It is also close to the North-West University's Vaal Campus, and the Vaal University of Technology in Vanderbijlpark.
- F.W. de Klerk was first elected to the South African parliament in 1969 as the member for Vereeniging.
- Bles Bridges, an Afrikaans country singer, stayed in Vereeniging until his death in 2000.
- Charl Schwartzel (the 2011 US Masters champion), Morné Morkel and Albie Morkel attended Vereeniging High.
- Actor, comedian, filmmaker, presenter and singer Leon Schuster was born in Vereeniging on May 21, 1951.
- Deon Dreyer, a cave diver who perished in Bushman's Hole in 1994, was raised in Vereeniging.
The latest crime statistics for Vereeniging Police Precinct was issued by the South African Police Service (SAPS) in September 2010. The SAPS crime report showed the following information:
|Type of crime||2008/2009||2009/2010|
|Burglary at non-residential premises||302||348|
|Burglary at residential premises||505||797|
|Theft of motor vehicle and motorcycle||586||609|
In December 2010 and January 2011 the southern part of Gauteng and Mpumulanga experienced a higher than normal rainfall. This resulted in the need to release more water from the nearby Vaal dam. As a consequence, parts of Vereeniging, Three Rivers and the rest of the towns downstream were flooded.
Coat of arms
Vereeniging established a municipality in 1912. By 1931, the town council had assumed an emblem depicting bridge across a river, and two clasped hands.
The town council obtained a coat of arms from the College of Arms in October 1955, registered it with the Transvaal Provincial Administration in October 1957 and with the Bureau of Heraldry in June 1987.
The arms were : Sable, on a fess wavy Or a barrulet wavy Tenne, the fess between in chief a thunderbolt between two picks, Or, and in base a steel pipe palewise proper between two cogwheels, also Or. In layman's terms, the design is a black shield displaying, from top to bottom, a golden heraldic thunderbolt between two picks, a wavy orange stripe edged in gold, and an upright golden pipe between two cogwheels.
The crest was a dove of peace perched on two clasped hands; the supporters were a lion and a zebra standing on a grassy base strewn with veld flowers; and the motto was Per pacem ad industriam.
- "Main Place Vereeniging". Census 2011.
- Leyds, Gerald Anton (1964). A History of Johannesburg: The Early Years. Nasional Boekhandel. p. 318.
- "Main Place 'Vereeniging'". Census 2001. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
- Vereeniging 2010 Crime Statistics
- Transvaal Official Gazette 2664 (23 October 1957).
- National Archives of South Africa : Data of the Bureau of Heraldry