Rustenburg is the third oldest town in the former Transvaal. Historians hold two
different explanations about the origin of the name Rustenburg. Others contend that
the town was named after Rustenburg estate in the Cape whereas others maintain that
it originated from expectations harboured by the Boers for peace for the region.
The town was built in 1841 when the Boers immigrated from the Cape and later from
Potchefstroom to settle north of Magaliesberg. In September 1951 the government of Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek proclaimed it a town but it only received municipal
status in 1918.
As early as 1852, the Transvaal Volksraad met in Rustenburg and many important decisions
regarding the State and the Church were taken here. For a while Rustenburg was even
the capital of the Zuid-Arikaansche Republiek, before the seat moved to Pretoria.
The course of the church’s history also showed that the turmoil on church level
in Rustenburg resulted in the fact that there are today three Afrikaans sister churches.
A recent church conference of all dominations was also held at Rustenburg. At educational
level Rustenburg played an important role when in 1859 a private school was established
with the assistance of Commandant SJP (Paul) Kruger – the late State President of
the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek on his farm. Some years later, the school was moved
Rustenburg was the first town in the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek where two languages;
Dutch and English, were used as language mediums. Today Rustenburg boasts many schools
as well as Technical College. From 1910 – 1939, this area was known as the experimental
farm, a tobacco research station, which had to move as a result of water shortage.
The then Union Education Department, took over the grounds on 14 July 1939 and opened the Rustenburg Industrial school.
Initially the school was meant for boys with behavioural problems and also boys
who were committed by the Children’s Act on boys removed from the parental homes.
Under the guidance of the first principal, Dr Mike Smuts, the pupils themselves
built the first two classrooms and workshops. The "Blinkblaar" hostel provided accommodation for eighty (80) pupils.
Reductions in personnel and the rationalization of these types of schools were the
cause of closure of the Werda School and it finally closed its door after 52 years.
The premised and building were taken over by the Department of Correctional Services towards the end of 1992, after having contemplated several ideas on how it should
be utilized, it was finally decided to use it as a juvenile prison for youths sentenced
for economical and drug related offences.
The "Blinkblaar" Hostel was transformed into a juvenile prison. Of the original
buildings still in the use since the beginning of the century are inter alia, the
old farmhouse used by the Principal, the building used by the Logistical section
and the "Blinkblaar" hostel, now known as "E" housing unit. Since 1 April 1998,
the whole Rustenburg Correctional Centre has functioned as a Juvenile Centre. This
is the only Juvenile Centre in the North West province and receives juveniles from
all over the province.
The Centre has since 2005 proclaimed a Centre of Excellence together with other
35 centres nation wide which will serve as pilot centres for the implementation
of the White Paper on Corrections in South Africa. Rustenburg Centre of excellence
– under the leadership of Mr Eddie Bruwer as the Area Commissioner – is under the
management of Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West Region (LMN). It is situated along
the Thabazimbi Highway on the left-hand side just on the outskirts of
the town in
The Centre is certified to accommodate 182 juveniles; however the number of juveniles
in this centre is currently 230. The Centre is classified under Medium Security
level and the visiting hours during Public Holidays and Weekends is 09h00 to 15h00.
Rustenburg Centre of excellence has, over the previous years, embarked on numerous
projects and programmes that contribute positively towards rehabilitation and skills
development of offenders. These activities include the provision of Formal/Basic
education, Skills development, Sport and recreation, Culture, Arts, Spiritual programmes,
and so forth. Members and offenders are actively participating in numerous activities
and events. It came as no surprise when Rustenburg scooped gold medal in 2007 Rustenburg
show whereby offenders participated in "Tsotsi Evangelie" a play about the New Testament