THE STORY BEHIND KRUGER’S GOLD

The mystery of Kruger’s Millions.

The legendary Kruger Millions refers to treasure allegedly hidden by, or on behalf of, President Paul Kruger, in the latter stages of the South African Boer War, between 1899 and 1902.

President Kruger had left Pretoria by train a few days earlier on 2nd May,1900 and had travelled to Middelburg, for about a fortnight. From there, the Government moved on to Machadodorp and then to Waterval Boven, in the Eastern Transvaal and finally to Hectorspruit. It is on this route that the wagons passed over the property at Graskop where the Eagle’s View Estate and Kruger’s Gold Restaurant are located today.

A witness, a Mr. J. P. Kloppers, who was an employee of the government, stated in an affadavit that he had seen the Government on wheels, in the three last mentioned stations, at two of which he received salaries for the officials at Noordkaap. Towards the end of 1901, the Government convoy went to Steenkampsberg, where Mr. Kloppers again visited them. He states that he definitely did not see any more coined pounds, or blanks at that stage. When Lord Roberts occupied Pretoria, on 5th June 1900, only R230 000 worth of “native” gold was found to have been left in the Mint.

By the time that the Government set up the State Field Mint, they had less than 250 ounces of gold bar set aside for the Veld Ponde, because minting ceased when the supply of gold was exhausted. After President Kruger had fled the country there was a shortage of coins for provisions for the Boer troops. Consequently, a Mint was established in the field (’veld’) at Pilgrims Rest. Mr J.P. Kloppers was appointed as the Head of the Mint. By the time that the Government set up the State Field Mint, they had less than 250 ounces of gold bar set aside for the Veld Ponde, because minting ceased when the supply of gold was exhausted. A hand press was improvised and discs of 24 carat gold were manufactured.

Kruger sailed to Holland on the Gelderland on the 19th October, 1900. The British tried to encourage the view that he had deserted his post and many sources tried to imply that he had taken the coins and bullion, for his own benefit. If this was true, Kruger would not have been interested in his countrymen once he had arrived safely in Holland, but even to the last he tried to do what he could for them. Shortly before his death on the 14th July, 1904, he wrote his last letter to the Boers, with the famous passage: “Look in the past for all that is good and beautiful, take that for your ideal and build on it your future”.

Pictured: Veldpond