The Havenga Family

Arthur Daniel Havenga

Down Memory Lane

A Picture History Of My Work From 1962 to 1969

“I enjoyed it then. The designs, the interpersonal contact and negotiations, the freedom to roam the roads, the freedom to be my own boss. It was a challenge to find a solution to the many problems but I’m glad that I got out. It became too hectic.”


Nicholas Trailer - 1975

I was busy with the specs for this trailer in 1968 and was given a ticket to tour Europe to check out all the available makes and models etc.  Then came and economic downturn for SAR&H and I was told that the trip was on hold.  I was warned that if I went overseas I would be regarded as an expert in this field and would never get promotion in any other sphere of Road Transport.  Could I really face a lifetime of this stress???

In February 1969 a vacancy occurred in East London.  Jan Burger, Chief Engineer – Automotive – offered me the choice of what was now a “Possible” trip overseas or an immediate promotion to East London.  If I accepted East London, I had to take up the post within 1 week!  (He also told me that he was busy establishing a transport firm in his name and offered me a job – he would soon resign from SAR&H to run the venture.)

I turned down his offer and accepted promotion to East London, and as they say, the rest is history.  I was out of Abnormal Loads.

I was coming “home”.                                See the footnote below.

Nicholas Trailer from 1975
Nicholas Trailer from 1975

This trailer has 48 axles and 192 wheels.  It will have 48 hydraulic cylinders to spread the load equally.  It will have 96 brake drums and 192 brake shoes.  Apart from the sheer inspection work involved to see that all is in order before every trip, just imagine how many staffers will be needed to do the work!  Just to pump the tyres!!!

Think of the overhead costs to kee this unit available day by day, nevermind roadworthy.

But there’s more!  What about testing the beams for stress fractures?  What about the 4 hauling units with all their sophisticated hydraulic and pneumatic circuits and intercom radios?

Imagine trying to make this investment pay!  Who gets billed for idle time?  Whats the return on investment?

That responsibility is not for me!!!


Arthur is a proud resident of East London, having attended Selborne Primary, Adelaide Primary and Adelaide High. He matriculated from the East London Technical College, later known as Port Rex Technical High and went to seek his fortune and fame in Johannesburg.  

It was in Johannesburg where he met Sylvia Hughes whom he married in 1960.  They have 3 children and 6 grand children.

Arthur “retired” in 2000 – or so he says, and now plays and coaches bowls at Nahoon Mouth Bowling Club.

Sylvia and Arthur with a colleague at Nahoon Mouth Bowling Club