Browsing by Author "Visser, Wessel"
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- ItemBetween drought and deluge : a history of water provision to Beaufort West, ca. 1858-1955(NWU, 2020) Visser, WesselBeaufort West was the first rural town in South Africa to receive municipal status as early as 1837. Situated in the arid interior of the country, the town has struggled with water provision and sufficient water supplies since its inception to the present day. In addition, the town is flanked by two rivers, which, in times of high rainfall or cloudbursts in the catchment areas, have caused severe flood damage since earliest times. Therefore, throughout its history Beaufort West has been trapped periodically between drought and deluge. The municipal council was challenged in its efforts to provide water to the needs of its growing population. Two outstanding events in this regard were the extension of the colonial railways to the town in 1880 and the outbreak of the South African War in 1899. In this article the quest for water to Beaufort West’s inhabitants is investigated since ca. 1858 until the completion of the Gamka Dam (1955) in the Nieuweveld Mountains some kilometres from Beaufort West. Besides the extraction of potable water from springs, weirs, boreholes, water mains, dams and reservoirs, the paper also highlights state involvement and the collision of national with local interests in the water procurement process. Although the centenary publication of WGH Vivier and S Vivier in 1969 on Beaufort West highlighted some aspects of the town’s water infrastructure developments, this study focuses in more detail on its water vulnerability especially in time of drought and the constant search for adequate alternative water sources.
- ItemCaught in a stranglehold between resistance and reform: The Mine Workers' Union and rightwing politics in South Africa, 1979-1997(2014-12) Visser, Wessel; HistoryThe National Party government’s acceptance of the recommendations of the Wiehahn Commission of Enquiry in 1979, i.e., that job reservation be abolished and African trade unions be legalised, came as a huge shock for the South African Mine Workers’ Union (MWU). The MWU responded by aligning itself with rightwing parties and organisations. When white resistance politics became more extreme in the 1990s, there were even attempts by the ultra-right Afrikaner Resistance Movement, albeit unsuccessful, to infiltrate and usurp the MWU executive. In an effort to try and thwart the momentum towards political democracy in 1994, the MWU joined other rightwing organisations in an all-encompassing resistance under the auspices of the Afrikaner People’s Front (AVF) of Gen. Constand Viljoen. Although many white workers joined the MWU’s ranks, rightwing unity was dealt a severe blow when a schism took place between the Viljoen faction in the AVF and the MWU over strategies to create an Afrikaner. people’s state. Between 1994 and 1997 the MWU stagnated and reached the crossroads. To avoid further stagnation and possible oblivion, Flip Buys, MWU general secretary since 1997, began a process of reinvention. This transformation was completed in 2002 when the MWU became Solidarity.
- ItemDr. Albert Hertzog se bemoeienis met die Mynwerkersunie(AOSIS, 2006) Visser, WesselIn 1975 het Dan O’Meara die boek van L Naudé, Dr A. Hertzog, die Nasionale Party en die Mynwerkers, vir die South African Labour Bulletin geresenseer. Daarin bespreek O’Meara die stryd en motiewe van die Afrikaner politieke en kulturele elite om ‘n Afrikaner-nasionalisties-georiënteerde leierskap teen 1948 in beheer van die Mynwerkersunie (MWU) te stel. Resente navorsing, gebaseer op ‘n in diepte studie van die Hertzog-Versameling by die Instituut vir Eietydse Geskiedenis in Bloemfontein, asook ander dokumente, het Hertzog se verdere intieme betrokkenheid by hierdie vakbond in die post-1948 periode aan die lig gebring. Aantygings van korrupsie teen die MWU se hoofsekretaris, Daan Ellis, het tot smeerveldtogte, mosies van wantroue en kommissies van ondersoek na korrupsieklagtes en wanbestuur aanleiding gegee. Dit het ‘n onverkwiklike magstryd tussen PJ Visser, die president van die MWU, en Ellis tot gevolg gehad. Hertzog was ten nouste daarby betrokke. Hertzog en lede van die Afrikaner politieke- en kulturele-elíte was besorg dat die twis en onmin binne die vakbond uiteindelik die beeld van die MWU by blanke mynwerkers, en Afrikanermynwerkers in die besonder, kon benadeel wat op sý beurt weer polities ‘n negatiewe gevolge vir die NP by die stembus kon inhou. Daarom sou Hertzog probeer om met die bestuur van die vakbond in te meng en selfs lede van die Afrikaner Broederbond het gepoog om die magstryd binne die MWU te ontlont. Hierdie artikel poog om ‘n aspek van die politieke lewe van dr. Albert Hertzog te belig, aangesien daar nog geen deurtastende wetenskaplike historiese ondersoek na die politieke lewe van hierdie omstrede figuur in die Suid-Afrikaanse geskiedenis gedoen is nie.
- ItemA perfect storm : the ramifications of Cape Town’s drought crisis(AOSIS, 2018) Visser, WesselBy 2018, the City of Cape Town (CCT) suffered a third consecutive year of serious drought. This article investigates the chronology of the drought and the various measures imposed by the city council to preserve dwindling water supplies in an effort to stave off the so-called ‘Day Zero’ scenario when its water reserves would apparently dry up. By means of contemporary sources, water governance sources and other relevant documentation, the trajectory of Cape Town’s water crisis and the political ramifications for its citizens is being investigated. Finally, lessons to be learnt from Cape Town’s dealing with its drought crisis, and other cities that found themselves in similar situations, will be discussed. An analysis of the political fallout and blaming of who should be held responsible for Cape Town’s precarious water situation is also presented. It seems that a combination of factors was responsible for the city’s relative unpreparedness in dealing with the drought: the politically fractured nature of South African multi-tiered government agencies and the lack of an integrated government approach to the drought; the CCT mayor’s unclear and negative communication to rate payers and ineffective water-saving proposals; a fallout between the CCT mayor and her political superiors over the effectiveness of her drought management plans; a dysfunctional, bankrupt and inert national Department of Water and Sanitation; and the expectation that the city’s expenditure on water supply schemes could be put on hold simply by saving the existing supply in the belief that it would remain stable.
- ItemPolitics under conditions of war : the effect of the War Measures Acts on political struggles within the South African Mine Workers’ Union, 1939-1947(Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Military Science (Military Academy), 2016) Visser, WesselThe South African Mine Workers’ Union, or MWU, was one of the most prominent white trade unions of 20th-century South Africa and active in one of the country’s key industries, namely gold mining. In the aftermath of the violent 1922 strike, the union’s executive was bureaucratised, which left the MWU vulnerable to corruption and maladministration. This gave rise to a protracted struggle for control of the union’s executive. In the 1930s and 1940s the strife within MWU ranks became entangled with the national struggle for political hegemony between the National Party and the United Party, as well as Afrikaner nationalism. At the outbreak of World War II the Smuts cabinet armed the state under War Measures’ Acts, which entitled it to a range of arbitrary powers, including powers to control strategic minerals, such as gold, and to curb industrial unrest. Naturally, the War Measures’ Acts had a significant effect on the doings of the MWU – in particular the struggle for political control of its executive. The struggle involved three official commissions of inquiry into the affairs of the MWU, two mining strikes and numerous court actions between the two competing factions within its ranks. As a result of the stipulations of the War Measures’ Acts pertaining to the mining industry, as well as those of the MWU constitution, a political impasse to solve the issue of democratic elections in the union arose. Therefore the War Measures’ Acts still had legal repercussions for the union three years after the cessation of hostilities. As such, the War Measures’ Acts[i]influenced politics and elections in the MWU as late as 1948.
- ItemThe South African Labour Movement's responses to declarations of Martial Law, 1913-1922(University of Stellenbosch, Faculty of Military Science, 2003) Visser, WesselThe first two decades of South Africa's history is characterised as a period of serious endemic industrial unrest and violence, when the labour movement and capital were involved in regular conflict over labour issues and for control of the country's industrial work force. The level of violence in these conflicts was such that the government as a third party was repeatedly forced to intervene in the disputes and restore law and order by imposing martial law. This paper explores labour's attitude and responses to, as well as the consequences for labour, of the government's declarations of martial law during these disputes and in the First World War.
- ItemSuid-Afrikaanse koerantberiggewing en -kommentaar ten opsigte van arbeiderspartye, sosialistiese partye en ander radikale groepe en bewegings, 1908-1915(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 1987) Visser, Wessel; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of . Dept. of .
- ItemDie vestiging van Solidariteit se Helpende Hand as ’n suksesvolle gemeenskaps gebaseerde welsynsorganisasie(Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns, 2011-03) Visser, WesselAFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die vakbond Solidariteit, voorheen bekend as die Suid-Afrikaanse Mynwerkersunie, was waarskynlik die eerste vakbond in Suid-Afrika om sy eie, private welsynsdepartement tot stand te bring. Die oorspronklike doelwit van hierdie welsynsdepartement wat in 1949 gestig is, bekend as die Helpende Hand, was om Afrikaner-mynwerkers wat as gevolg van werksverwante ongelukke of omstandighede ongeskik vir werk geword het, fi nansieel te ondersteun. In 2001 is die welsynsdepartement opnuut bekendgestel om voortaan as Solidariteit Helpende Hand bekend te staan. Die Helpende Hand se bestek van welsynsbystand is ook uitgebrei na die groter Afrikaanssprekende gemeenskap selfs buite die vakbond en sodoende het dit tot ’n suksesvolle gemeenskaps gebaseerde welsynsorganisasie ontwikkel. Die organisasie se projekte behels onder andere noodlenigingskemas ten opsigte van voedselvoorsiening, ’n nasionale akademiese beursfonds en materiële bystand aan ouetehuise en kinderhuise.
- ItemWater as agent for social change, 1900–1939 : two case studies of developmental state approaches in establishing irrigation schemes(Historical Association of South Africa, 2018-11) Visser, WesselThe advent of the Union of South Africa in 1910, and especially the creation of the Union’s Irrigation Department in 1912, signalled the beginning of large-scale state investment in water storage infrastructure and the start of South Africa’s first damconstruction boom on a national scale. At the same time the Union government also began to tackle its increasing social problems such as white poverty by combining poor relief with irrigation and dam-building projects. The Hartebeespoort Dam and irrigation scheme near Pretoria was the first Union project of its kind. Apart from harnessing water for agricultural development, the aim of these state projects was twofold: to provide temporary relief employment for poor and destitute whites through job creation during the construction phases of dams and canals, as well as establishing white irrigation settlement schemes. This article examines aspects of the South African state’s irrigation and poor relief projects with a special focus on the Kamanassie irrigation scheme (1919–1925) in the Western Cape and the Buchuberg irrigation scheme (1929–1934) on the Orange River in the Northern Cape. The successes and failures of these projects as examples of socio-economic upliftment are discussed briefly.
- ItemWater contestations in the Little Karoo : liaisons between the Calitzdorp irrigation board and the Calitzdorp (Kannaland) Municipality, 1912- 2013(AOSIS, 2015-12-31) Visser, WesselAlthough a good agricultural-yielding region when adequate rainfall is available the Little Karoo is plagued by regular, recurring and sometimes devastating droughts. In a rural town like Calitzdorp, where the same water resources are being shared by agricultural and domestic users, acute shortages over time have contributed to a history of water disputes and contestations between the Calitzdorp Irrigation Board (CIB) and the local municipality. The study focuses on the period between 1912, when the Calitzdorp Irrigation Board was established, and the beginning of the 21st century. Drought conditions and water shortages, also due to further municipal needs, were main determinants in relations between the CIB and the municipality between the 1950s and the early 1990s. Although this relationship had been abrasive at times up to 1994, issues regarding municipal water allocation and usage and payment of water tariffs had usually been settled in a practical way and to the mutual satisfaction of all stakeholders. The interests of the all-white CIB and town council were intertwined in a community whose existence depended on an agricultural economy supported predominantly by irrigation. However, when new district municipalities were created in 1998 the Calitzdorp Municipality was dissolved after 88 years and all executive and administrative municipal powers shifted to the neighbouring town of Ladismith. As a result of political instability, mismanagement and inefficient administration occurred. The new Kannaland Municipality not only demanded more water from the CIB, but also started paying its water bills in an erratic manner to the board. This situation led to the souring of relations between the two entities.
- ItemWhite settlement and irrigation schemes : CF Rigg and the founding of Bonnievale in the Breede River Valley, 1900-c.1953(School for Basic Sciences, Vaal Triangle Campus, North-West University, 2013-12) Visser, WesselThe idea to initiate irrigation development as part of a white colonisation scheme and a political movement to settle Britons on land in South Africa dates back to the culmination of British imperialism in the late nineteenth century. Such schemes were envisaged by imperialists such as Cecil Rhodes, Thomas Smartt and Percy Fitzpatrick and became more viable with the promulgation of the Cape Colony’s Irrigation Act of 1893 which extended the facility of government loan funds to private individuals. In 1900 a Scottish immigrant, CF Rigg, obtained land on the Breede River in the Western Cape which was divided after a survey into irrigation plots for private purchase. Thus, Rigg began one of the first private real estate schemes in South Africa. Apart from a number of poor white Afrikaner ostrich farmers, who left the droughtstricken Oudtshoorn district in search of better agricultural conditions by purchasing plots from Rigg, he also targeted British World War One veterans. Rigg compiled an elaborate and professional recruitment brochure which included detailed information on aspects such as soil conditions, climatology and geographical features, agricultural possibilities, transport facilities and shipping fares from Britain to South Africa. This article explores the historical development of Rigg’s irrigation settlement and infrastructural development such as the construction of a weir and canal system (which included the drilling and blasting of an irrigation tunnel) under the guise of white colonisation and settlement in the age of empire in early twentieth century South Africa. As the number of purchasers of irrigation plots increased over time, Rigg’s scheme, originally called Riggton, would gradually develop into the town and agricultural community of Bonnievale, derived from the Scottish word for “beautiful” and the local railway siding Vale.