CLARENS NEWS received an the following interesting letter from Pieter Olivier in response to our article “Tight lines on the Ash River” published in last week’s newsletter (Jan 2015). It seems that our reference to the Ash river is totally incorrect. Pieter wrote as follows:
The only historic reference to the naming of the As (Axle) River which I know of, is the following from the “Bethlehem 125” history book by the late A P J van Rensburg (1989) : Page 10 : “ Vanaf Uys-se-Kuile is Retief se trek oor die suidelike gedeelte van die plaas Smalfontein (tans Bonnington, die plaas van mnr. F S liebowitz), oor die rand van die plase Poortjie en Trekpad en deur die Asrivier – so genoem omdat die as van ‘n wa hier gebreek het en hoogs waarskynlik die drif geblokkeer het en so die trek vertraag het. Hiervandaan het die Voortrekkers Klipnek deurgegaan en op die middag van 23 September 1837 in die Liebenbergskloof, vandag Liebenbergsvlei, uitgespan.”
The Liebenbergsvlei River and the Axle River come together in the Saulspoort Dam (now called the Sol Plaatje Dam to commemorate the 51 residents from the Sol Plaatje Municipality – Kimberley – who drowned there in on 1 May2003. The Axle River carries the water from the Lesotho Highlands Water Project to the Wilger River and onwards to the Vaal Dam. The Bethlehem dam is the first municipal storage dam in South Africa to receive the high quality water via the Project.
I did try two or three years ago to convince SANRAL to rectify the matter at the river crossings but to no avail. The other gross fault is the big signboard near Clarens indicating the “ Ash River Outfall” (!!!). Greetings, Pieter
If you would like to visit the Outfall of the As Rivier (about 10km from Clarens) here is a map and some more information