In 1946 a rich gold reef was discovered on the farm Geduld in the vicinity of Odendaalsrus and approximately 3 miles (4, 8 km) from the town. At that stage it was recognised as the richest gold reef in the world. The discovery led to further and progressive explorations in the Goldfields and finally resulted in the coming of many people to settle in the area. As the mining sector developed, the need for certain infrastructure on socio-economic and the social precinct had deepened. The proceeding development of the mining sector had led to the establishment of Welkom, because Odendaalsrus could not comply with the expectations of mining magnates like Ernest Oppenheimer. Consequently, the establishment and layout of Welkom made provision for such requirements like infrastructure, etc. Likewise, with the surrounding mining industry of Anglo-American, Welkom had become the metropolis in the Goldfields. Thereby equal to the mining industry, secondary industry developed on an increasing scale in the Goldfields. Odendaalsrus played on the other hand an important role in the emergence and developing processes of the Dutch Reformed Churches, since the Volksraad of the O.F.S. gave distinct consent on the 26 April 1899 for the layout of the town on the farm of Kalkkuil. Inclusively, the founding and development of the Reformed Churches in South Africa (Gereformeerde Kerke in Suid-Afrika), also started with their church activities during the early years of the gold discovery near Odendaalsrus. None the less, the Reformed Church of South Africa (Ned. Hervormde Kerk van Suid-Afrika) also had been founded and church activities escalated during the same time in the Goldfields, and more specifically in St. Helena, a well-known established suburb of Welkom. In the same way, it is necessary to emphasise the Evangelical Reformed Church of South Africa (Evangelies-Gereformeerde Kerk van Suid-Afrika) which founded on May 1960 in Welkom, although the members of the church were active with church activities in Welkom long before their congregation was finally established. The culminating factor of the economic power regarding the mining industry may not be overlooked in its influence on the emergence of the various church congregations in the Goldfields. The constant influx of mineworkers to the Goldfields made the existence of the church inevitable for its member’s spiritual well-being. Naturally, the church had to overcome major obstacles, namely: the expansion to new residential areas, the availability of finances, planning schemes for church amenities, the purchase of church estates, the need of ministers, knowledgeable church councillors and general encompassing assistance, etc. Furthermore, the church encountered during the pioneering years all sorts of social disorders, while the minister at times had the working load of approximately two congregations to handle at the same time. Accordingly, it was virtually impossible for the minister to cope with such a strenuous working load effectively, and consequently some issues were at times inevitably neglected in the congregation. The demands of the time and difficult circumstances without proper roads, communication networks like direct telephone systems, the lack of church buildings, manses, the long distances between the central point of worship and some visiting areas within the confinements of the congregation had necessarily complicated the task of the minister. Nevertheless, the church continued and gave concrete stature to its calling by virtue of the founding congregations for meaningful and efficacious spiritual care to its members. Herein, the church was successful because the focus of faith remained on God. All the praise and glory is due to Him.
Thesis (DPhil (Church History and Church Polity))--University of Pretoria, 2006.