Pretoria tramlines to be marked with memorial

I love looking at history and I find the early pictures of Pretoria absolutely fascinating to look at.  I am only sorry that in SA over many decades we have shown a preference for bashing things down and replacing them with something shiny and new.

It is only in the past couple of decades that legislation has been enacted to protect our heritage.

I know that some of my Property Developer clients find this "heritage stuff" a huge pain in the neck and an obstacle to their developments but I believe the Heritage Legislation is essential in preserving what we have in SA before it's gone forever. The implimentation of this legislation could, however, be more practical and effectively administered.

Gareth Shepperson
Commercial and Property Attorney

Pretoria tramlines to be marked with memorial

A set of tram tracks, dating back about 105 years and unearthed during excavation work on Church Square, is to be preserved in a memorial near where they were found.

The tracks were found last Tuesday by workmen excavating in preparation for lanes to be created for the city's A Re Yeng Tshwane Rapid Transport system.

They have been described by the National Heritage Council as a 'really interesting discovery'. Spokesman Danny Goulkan said the tracks were a relic of great significance and part of the history of the city and the country.

Heritage consultant Dr Udo Kusel said: 'All historic material, especially the tram lines, will be collected and preserved for the benefit of the people of the city and visitors.'
Paul Kruger Street and Church Square were criss-crossed with tramlines under the tar as that was where the main routes of the trams were, Kusel said.

Discovering them was important as they formed a part of the city's history and heritage, said Kusel, from Africa Heritage Consultants.

He has been contracted by A Re Yeng to hold a watching brief over the project.

His mandate from the Heritage Association is to identify heritage items and act accordingly.

He spends his time at the sites of excavation, where he is tasked with ensuring heritage relics are not damaged or lost.

Kusel said so much history lay buried in that section of the inner city - information a lot of people were unaware of.

'We want to preserve it and have a granite plaque with information on the history of the area and the service history of the trams.'

Trams, the first mode of public transport in the city, were introduced in 1910 as an alternative to walking and cycling. Church Square was where they set out from, and it was the city's main attraction.

Tshwane city spokesman Selby Bokaba said: 'The last tram was removed in 1939 and is on display at the Fort Klapperkop Heritage Site.'

Pretoria News


  1. If only they would rather put the trams back in between church square and the Pretoria train station as pedestrians commuting between cbd and our original transport system being the trains. (which is used in great volumes still, especially since the addition of the gautrain) it's always disappointing to see that solutions to preservation of our culture and history is a plaque of granite with redundant information on it. Put the original team on a piece of the original tracks somewhere there and I'll remember the trams, more so appreciate it's presence. No one will read a piece of rock. a generation of technology and visual over stimulation small text in hard to read places are like rubbing sand in your eyes and hoping it feels good, and that people would return for more.

    Can't we get a international heritage expert to come and give wisdom to our guys on how they have approached some of their heritage discoveries in urban environments, essentially to serve as a precedent?

    Just my two cents worth of how I wish South Africa would value these findings as something far greater than what they perceive it to be.


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Denny Crane

Denny Crane
It's not me ... yet. Denny Crane from the TV series Boston Legal. Click on picture if you're not sure who he is!