South African Engine Drivers' and Firemen's Association

The South African Engine Drivers' and Firemen's Association (SAEDFA) was a trade union representing people involved in operating engines in South Africa.

The union was founded in 1895 in the Transvaal, and its membership was originally based in the mines. In 1902, Peter Whiteside was elected as its general secretary. The union affiliated to the South African Trades Union Congress, and by 1926 had 1,230 members.[1]

The union affiliated to the South African Trades and Labour Council in the early 1940s,[2] and by 1947 had 2,616 members.[3] However, it resigned in 1951 to join the right-wing split, the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU). By 1962, it had 4,538 members.[4] SAFTU became part of the South African Confederation of Labour, and by 1980, the union, with 7,000 members, had lengthened its name to the South African Engine Drivers', Firemen's and Operators' Association.[5]

In 1990, the union merged into the South African Boilermakers' Society.[6]


  1. ^ Gitsham, Ernest; Trembath, James H. (1926). A first account of labour organisation in South Africa (PDF). Durban: E. P. & Commercial Printing. Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  2. ^ Touyz, Brian Martin (1982). WHITE LABOUR AND THE 'SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC' MOVEMENT IN THE TRANSVAAL (PDF). Cape Town: University of Cape Town. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  3. ^ Lewis, Jon (1984). Industrialisation and Trade Union Organization in South Africa, 1924-1955. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521263123.
  4. ^ Wirtz, W. Willard (1966). Directory of Labor Organizations: Africa. Washington DC: Bureau of International Labor Affairs. pp. 39.25–39.28.
  5. ^ Miller, Shirley (1982). Trade Unions in South Africa 1970-1980: a directory and statistics. Cape Town: Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit. ISBN 0799204692.
  6. ^ Annual Report of the Chamber of Mines (1990), p.39