RA Rouillard was the driving force behind the region's agricultural and economic prosperity.
Pongola has a thriving agriculture sector.
Sugar cane, Pecan nuts, Citrus and Game farming are just some of the farming activities around the Pongola area.
The Pongola Valley comprises of about 17 000ha of irrigated land.
16 000ha under suger cane, 300ha under citrus and 400ha under Pecan Nuts.
Cotton was also planted but not any more.
Irrigation water is supplied either by government-built gravity canals or direct pumping from the Pongola river which has its origin in the large Wakkerstroom district.
Construction on the irrigation canal by the Dept of Agriculture started in 1932. The canals were mostly erected by hand. Hundreds of black and white labourers and mule drawn scoops were used for construction.
Due to constant water shortages during the late winter and early summer months the farmers decided to build a dam to be able to have a constant supply of good quality water.
By 1955, plans were well advanced for the construction of a dam in the Pongolapoort.
The dam was completed in 2000 with financial assistance from government, the local Illovo sugar mill company and the farmers. We are very fortunate to have this dam otherwise we would have had crippling shortages for 2003 as well as in 2004.