23 November 1887
Hendrik Johannes van der Bijl, was born on 23 November 1887 in Pretoria. Van der Bijl was born into a very influential family as his father was a produce merchant and a property investor who associated with high profile politicians such as Louis Botha and Jan Smuts. Van der Bijl studied physics in Germany where he obtained a Masters of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degree at the University of Leipzig. Van der Bijl returned to South Africa in 1920. He founded the Electricity Supply Commission (Escom) in 1923. Escom grew and was soon providing sufficient inexpensive power to South Africa. Van der Bijl then set his sights on the steel industry and established the South African Steel and Iron Corporation (Iscor). Van der Bijl died in 1948 and is regarded as one of the greatest South Africans for his contribution to the country’s development.

HJ Van der Bijl,[online] Available at www.heritage.eskom.co.za[Accessed 27 October 2011]