Municipal engineers and local government in the Transvaal before 1910.

19 January 2012

This paper examines the history of the first town engineers in the Transvaal before the Union. It will briefly examine the changes in local government in the Transvaal, focusing on municipal engineers. Examination is made of the selection processes applied in their appointments and the circumstances at the end of their tenures. It explores what was expected of municipal engineers during this period; shows what their position within the municipal structure was; and explains how vague their job description was in relation to their wide field of operation. The development of the engineer’s position in the municipal management hierarchy is interesting. He was an important figure in local government, had specific responsibilities and enjoyed specific powers. It emerges that most early town engineers had training via apprenticeship for the positions they held and that there was added pressure from elected councillors in municipalities who were prone to assiduously monitor how officials were spending public money.