Ermelo is the educational, industrial and commercial centre of the 7,750 km² Gert Sibande District Municipality in Mpumalanga province, Republic of South Africa. It is both a mixed agriculture and mining region. Its is found 210 km east of Johannesburg.
Ermelo railway station
|• Total||47.46 km2 (18.32 sq mi)|
|• Density||1,800/km2 (4,600/sq mi)|
|Racial makeup (2011)|
|• Black African||82.6%|
|First languages (2011)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (SAST)|
|Postal code (street)||2351|
Some of the earliest inhabitants of the area were the mysterious Leghoya people. Not much is known about them, but ruins of their settlements dating back to c.1400 can be found in the area.
During the mid-1800s, the area prior to the formation as a village, was an outspan area for resting team-animals transporting goods across the region mainly due to the water of the small lakes dotting the area.:302 Modern Ermelo was founded by Dutch Reformed Church Reverend Frans Lion Cachet (1835–1899).:303 He would minister to the many farms in the area.:303 A congregation was started by Cachet in 1870, and was recognised by the 5th annual general meeting of the church in April 1872.
The town would be formed on the farm Nooitgedacht purchased from P.J. Fourie in 1879 and proclaimed on 12 February 1880.:303 It would be managed by the church until 1895 when the government of the South African Republic took over its management.:303 Cachet named it after a town in the Netherlands.:303 Cachet was an outspoken preacher, who had a strong interest in evangelism to Jews, his own family having Jewish heritage. Cachet had met and been influenced by Hermanus Willem Witteveen from Ermelo in the Netherlands as a young man, and named the settlement in honour of Witteveen.
Mixed farming such as maize, cattle, potatoes, beans, wool, pigs, sunflower seeds, nuts, sub-tropical fruits, lucerne and sorghum take place around the district.:303 The town is the home of the Nooitgedacht Agriculture Development and Research Centre that researches crop production and animal husbandry.:303
Law and GovernmentEdit
Ermelo lies in the Msukaligwa Local Municipality which is situated in the Gert Sibande District, of Mpumalanga. Ermelo is the seat of the municipality.
Coats of armsEdit
Municipality (1) — A municipal board was established for Ermelo in 1903. By 1931, it had assumed a coat of arms. The arms were registered with the Transvaal Provincial Administration in January 1957 and recorded at the Bureau of Heraldry as part of a municipal flag in 1967.
The arms were : Per pale, dexter Or, a mining headgear Sable; sinister Vert, a sheep-shear and spade in saltire, handles upwards, Argent; on a chief Gules a phoenix on a nest enflamed, Or. In layman's terms, the shield was divided vertically, displaying a black mine headgear on a golden background and a crossed sheep-shear and spade on a green background, and across the top was a golden phoenix on a red horizontal stripe. (Note : these are not the colours shown on the cigarette card issued in 1931. Either the cigarette card is wrong, or the municipality changed the colours some time between 1931 and 1957.)
The motto was Stabiliter progrediens.
Municipality (2) — The Ermelo transitional local council which administered the town during the local government reorganisation in the late 1990s, registered its own arms at the Bureau of Heraldry in May 1998.
The arms were : Per fess Or and Vert, charged over the partition line with five lozenges conjoined, per fess Sable and Argent; in chief a phoenix Sable issuant from flames Gules and in base sheep shears and a spade in saltire, blades to base, Argent. In layman's terms, this shield was divided horizontally into gold and green, with a black phoenix at the top and a crossed silver sheep-shear and spade at the bottom, and across the centre a row of five diamond-shapes divided horizontally into black over silver.
The crest was a green mural crown with the brickwork outlined in gold. The motto was Stabiliter progrediens.
These arms have been taken over by the Msukaligwa municipality, of which Ermelo now forms part.
It is also a railway junction between Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal. The rail junction connects to Machadodorp which is on the Pretoria and Maputo railway line.: The town also lies on the railway line that connects the coalfields with the Richards Bay Coal Terminal on the Indian Ocean.: Coal trains shipping to the coast from the mines change electric locomotives here, as power converts from Direct current to Alternating current - a legacy of the British and Afrikaner histories of the area.
Ermelo is the crossroads of three national highways, N2, N11 and the N17, only Pretoria and Johannesburg are crossed by more. The N2 freeway connects Ermelo south east to Piet Retief 105km away and eventually Richards Bay 417 km from the town. The N11 South connects the town to Newcastle, 152 km in the south and Ladysmith 250 km away and the N3 to Durban. The N11 north connects it to Middelburg, 108 km away and the N4 freeway west to Pretoria. The N17 West connects the town to the southern suburbs of Johannesburg and N17 east to Swaziland.
Notable people from ErmeloEdit
- "Chronological order of town establishment in South Africa based on Floyd (1960:20-26)" (PDF). pp. xlv–lii.
- "Main Place Ermelo". Census 2011.
- Erasmus, B.P.J. (2014). On Route in South Africa: Explore South Africa region by region. Jonathan Ball Publishers. p. 401. ISBN 9781920289805.
- Human Sciences Research Countil (1976). Official South African municipal yearbook. Tafelberg. p. 143. ISBN 0-624-00856-8.
- ZA Places - Ermelo: The Early Years. http://www.za-places.co.za/mpumalanga/ermelo_the_early_years.html. Accessed 20-Aug-2011
- SA Association of Municipal Employees (1995). Dictionary of South African Biography Vol 1. Gaffney Group. p. 116.
- Transvaal Official Gazette 2615 (23 January 1957).
- National Archives of South Africa : Data of the Bureau of Heraldry
- Shongololo puts SA’s coal on a faster track BDLive