The History of the Volkstem Building in Pretoria
Although the Volkstem Building bears the 1873 founding
date of the Volkstem newspaper, the building was, in
fact, built in 1898 and was occupied by the newspaper for a few
It is not known when the SAP occupied the building for the
first time. In 1933, the police used some of the offices in the
building, while some offices were allocated to the District
The CID occupied some rooms in the Volkstem Building
for several years, but in 1951 they vacated their offices.
However, the SAP still used several offices in the building,
including a storeroom for records; a strongroom for the storage
of liquor seized as exhibits; an office for the registration of
illegal immigrants; and two lecture rooms. The library of the
SAP recreation club was also housed here.
On 6 June 1959, the Security Branch of the Transvaal Division
moved into the two corner offices (on the corner of Pretorius
Street and Fountain Avenue) of the building.
Over the years the SAP used the Volkstem Building as a
storage facility and parking area. On 17 November 1961, the
Department of Public Works announced that the building would be
demolished, because it was dilapidated. The SAP reported in
December 1961 that they had vacated the building. For reasons
unknown the Volkstem Building was not demolished and the
SAP continued to use it.
By 1978 the building was already a part of the Police Museum
and served as a workshop and storage facility.
In 1990, the Volkstem Building was declared a national
monument. It is the oldest and only existing newspaper building
that dates back to the 19th century in South Africa.
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