For over 20 years, Oom Ben van Dyk has kept watch over the cars of Newcastle. Ensuring motorists’ vehicles are always safe.
After dedicating a large part of his life to be a car guard, Ben will be hanging up his cap at the end of March and retiring.
“I will be moving to the Northern Cape to be nearer to two of my daughters and their families,” he says.
Ben’s career as a car guard began when he moved to Newcastle in 1997. “I worked on the mines and when I moved to Newcastle, I could not find a job. My niece then suggested I join her as a car guard.”
After taking the relevant steps, he became a car guard, working the streets during the day and standing outside Spur at night when it was still situated in Voortrekker Road.
When Spur moved, he was asked to continue working outside Spur to watch patrons’ cars. “When Spur moved to the Amajuba Mall, Elmar Gouws and the Spur management ensured Ben went with.”
Being a car guard was not without its challenges. Ben explains cold and rain often made it challenging, but a car never went missing under his watch. Ben even endured an armed robbery one year, when assailants pointed a firearm at him.
“It was when Spur was at its old
However, despite having to endure the elements and the armed robbery, Ben says he truly loved his work.
“I was nearly 50 years old when I became a car guard and I truly loved working with all the people. Out of everyone I dealt with, 98% of the people treated me like a gentleman and I will never forget them. Newcastle is a lovely town.”
Now as he prepares for retirement, Ben says he is looking forward to spending time with his grandchildren and to take up one of his favourite pastimes, fishing.
“I am going to dust my fishing rods off, because those fish aren’t going to know what hit them,” he laughs.
The Eagle Peak Spur team and the Newcastle community bids Oom Ben a heartfelt farewell. You are truly a gem and your presence will be missed.