The SA Metal and Machinery Company is founded by Wolfe Barnett (1886-1946) in Woodstock, Cape Town, trading in second-hand machine parts. Scrap metal is a secondary line of business and is shipped to the UK packed in 44-gal drums on the decks of steam ships. The company becomes known colloquially as “SA Metal”.
After World War II, scrap metal becomes the main focus of SA Metal, with the reins of the company being taken over by the second generation.
Ever expanding, SA Metal installs the first hydraulic baling press for scrap metal in South Africa, imported from Lindemann, Germany. It operates on a water-based hydraulic fluid.
Waste Control is established in Cape Town. At first, its primary service is the removal of rubble from swimming pool excavations.
By now a well-known Cape Town brand, SA Metal installs the first hydraulic scrap handling machine with grab in South Africa, a UK built “Hymac”.
The company installs its first hydraulic shearing machine, a 420 ton Lindemann.
The restored body of a World War II Spitfire aircraft is mounted at the company’s Salt River premises, where it becomes a world-famous landmark.
1980 – 1983
The third generation joins the company.
The Spitfire has to be removed due to deterioration from nearby railway shunting yards and vandals taking shots at it. It is shipped to the UK and sold to a restorer.
SA Metal ships its first bulk vessel of scrap steel from Cape Town.
The company moves its main operation to Epping Industria, Cape Town.
Real Steel is established in Epping Industria, Cape Town.
The company installs its first shredder at Epping, a 2000HP Williams. This is later replaced with a 3000HP Texas Shredder which is later upgraded as improvements become available.
The company acquires its first property adjacent to its Epping headquarters. Over the following years, it acquires a number of other properties adjacent to its original base. Today, SA Metal’s Epping scrap processing plant is the largest in South Africa.
The company continues to invest in machinery, equipment, facilities and a comprehensive vehicle fleet.
SA Metal opens its first premises in Johannesburg, at Elandsfontein.
SA Steelworks billet manufacturing plant opens at Airport Industria, Cape Town, producing steel billets from shredded steel scrap.
SA Metal rebrands to become ‘SA Metal Group’ and officially changes its name to “SA Metal Group (Pty) Ltd” in 2010. By 2010, the company is conducting business in all of South Africa’s major centres.
The company opens many other scrap metal purchasing yards around Cape Town, begins expanding its Gauteng operation and grows its demolition department working in and around Southern Africa.
The company installs a new state-of-the-art Lindemann 1000 ton shear in Epping.
SA Metal opens new scrap metal processing yards in Germiston, Johannesburg and in Zandfontein, Pretoria.
SA Steelworks rolling mill is commissioned to produce steel reinforcing bar for the construction industry. All products are accredited by the SABS.
The fourth generation joins the company.
An identical Lindemann 1000 ton shear is installed in Germiston. The company continues to expand across Southern Africa.
SA Metal installs a third 1000 ton shear, this time a Le Fort, at its Pretoria works.
SA Copperworks completes copper busbar and conductor lines at its Epping works.
New Gauteng head office is opened in Elandsfontein, Johannesburg.