Hidden gems

Text: Ranger Pieter van Wyk

On the 4th of June 1900, a day before the British forces occupied Pretoria, a vast amount of gold was removed from the SA Mint and National Bank. It was supposedly done on the order of President Paul Kruger to avoid it being captured by the British. The stash is still unaccounted for and has a present day value of over $500 million. MalaMala became part of the story.

The last battles of the first phase of the Boer War were fought just west of MalaMala. This brought to an end to the conventional warfare, after which the Boer forces disbanded and fought a successful guerrilla campaign for the next 2 years. President Kruger was residing in the area at the time, in a town called Machadodorp. It is strongly believed that the gold was transported to the town by train. Shortly after it arrived he took ship from Mozambique for Europe. The gold, the original Kruger Rands, never made it to ship and that fired up the imaginations of many. Many theories, rational and outlandish, have been generated since but the vast majority agree on one thing… that the ‘Kruger Millions’ are buried in this area.

A popular belief is that they were hidden during Kruger’s journey to Mozambique, and one of the koppies on MalaMala, Stwise, was early on identified as the spot. Legions of fortune seekers brought picks, shovels and hope to the site, and it has facetiously been said that the koppie has changed position several times as it was excavated to the ground and dumped alongside.