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Heinrich Ziegler

The steamboat Maridal.gif

The steamboat "Maridal"

1870 - 1910

1870 -  On 18th April HERMANN METJE is born in Greene, Germany.

Namibia History: After a long period of conflict and

hostility, Kaptein of the Nama people, Jan Jonker Afrikaner, and Maherero, Paramount Chief of the Herero people, conclude a peace treaty at Okahandja.

1875 -  HEINRICH ZIEGLER is born in Kaiserslautern, Germany on 13th August.

Namibia History: British authorities in Cape Town attempt to conclude peace treaties with the Herero.

1897 - On 21th May Ernst A.H.F. Behnsen is born in \ Hannover, Germany. Ernst Metje, first son of  Mr and Mrs HERMANN METJE is born on 8th May.

Namibia History: Construction commences on the narrow gauge railway line from Swakopmund to Windhoek. The first pier in South West Africa is built at Lüderitz Bay.

1898 - The 31st July marks the birth of Wilfried, second son of the Metje family.

Namibia History: Major Theodor Leutwein arrives in South West Africa to take up office as its first German Imperial Governor.

1899 - Hermann Metje settles in Cape Town as a joiner and carpenter and subsequently enters the building trade.

Namibia History: During the month of June, the first agricultural show opens in Windhoek. Swakopmund is linked to the international world via a telegraphic undersea cable.

1900 - Hermann Metje's wife and their two sons Ernst and Wilfried arrive in Cape Town during January.

Namibia History: The Otavi Minen- und Eisenbahngesellschaft (OMEG) is founded. For the first time, banking transactions and capital transfers between South West Africa and Germany are made possible.

1904 - Namibia History: The Herero-German War breaks out in South West Africa under the leadership of Samuel Maherero.

1906 - On 3rd November Hermann Metje arrives in Lüderitz.

Namibia History: The settlement of Otjiwarongo is established on the northern section of the Otavi railway line.

1907 - Metje establishes a building enterprise in Lüderitz. Initially he builds a private dwelling which becomes the first home of the Metje family, who leave Cape Town during the same year for Lüderitz. This house is later demolished in the wake of the town's street development. Very early Metje recognises the opportunities offered by Lüderitz as trading post for the hinterland. He initiates the import of building material and related products.

Namibia History: At the end of March, German Emperor Wilhelm II declares the end of the war in South West Africa. The Etosha Pan and surrounding areas are proclaimed as game reserves. The German Governor Friedrich von Lindequist and the Leipzig furriers Theodor Thorer import the first 300 karakul sheep into South West Africa from Halle, Germany. The foundations of the Christuskirche are laid in Windhoek.

1908 - The discovery of diamonds just outside Lüderitz stimulates unprecedented progress in Metje's business interest. Heinrich Ziegler, \having lived in Natal as soldier, architect and farmer since 1899, settles in Lüderitz.

Namibia History: The southern railway line between Lüderitz Bay and Keetmanshoop is commissioned. The railway worker Zacharias Lewala hands a glittering stone to his supervisor, August Stauch, at Lüderitz Bay. This discovery of the first diamond starts a rush to the area. From the middle of the year to December, diamond production amounts to 40,000 carats, valued at 1.1 million Mark.

1909 -  Metje invites Heinrich Ziegler to become a partner in his company which he registers as an "open trading company" under the name of METJE & ZIEGLER. The company now pays wages and salaries ap approximately 3,000 Mark and records a monthly turnover of 40,000 Mark. The orders for building construction in October are valued at 100,000 Mark! A joinery and warehouse are erected.

Namibia History: During the course of the year, two newspapers are founded: the Lüderitzbuchter Zeitung, which serves Lüderitz Bay, and the Südwestbote (today’s Allgemeine Zeitung), which is circulated in Windhoek. According to a census, 10,644 settlers now live in South West Africa, amongst whom are 2,291 Schutztruppler. A Landesrat together with district and municipal authorities are established to provide for limited self-government in South West Africa.

1910 -  The company is commissioned by German authorities to supply livestock, animal feed etc. The merchandise is not only obtained from the Cape Province but also imported from South America and Europe. Trading now expands country-wide and the name of METJE & ZIEGLER is established well beyond the confines of Lüderitz. Heinrich Ziegler acquires the 3,000 ha farm Streitfontein near Grootfontein and leaves Lüderitz.

Namibia History: The Landesrat convenes in Windhoek for the first time. Construction of the railway line from Windhoek to Keetmanshoop commences simultaneously at both destinations, and is completed by 1911. A total of 63 diamond companies operate from Lüderitz Bay. State aid is provided to infuse fresh blood into stock farming. The following cattle breeds are imported: Pinzgauer, Friesian, Simmentaler, Allgäuer and Oldenburger.

Wilfried M. Behnsen.gif

Wilfried M. Behnsen

Siegfried Pakleppa.gif

Siegfried Pakleppa

1927 - 1944

Ernst Behnsen.gif

Ernst Behnsen

Wilfried Metje.gif

Wilfried Metje

1912 - 1926

1912 - Metje acquires the farm MARMORA, situated between Bogenfels and present day Oranjemund.

Namibia History: Foundation of the Bodenkredit Bank in South West Africa on 3 December.

1913 - Heinrich Ziegler visits Germany with his family.

Namibia History: Exports of copper and diamonds are valued at 8 million and 59 million Mark, respectively.

1914 - Hermann Metje, his wife and daughter and virtually all other inhabitants of Lüderitz are sent to Pietermaritzburg via Cape Town into internment. In the meantime, the trading firm is being managed by so-called Neutrals appointed by the occupying forces. Heinirch Ziegler participates in the German campaign in France where he is fatally wounded on 27th September. He is buried at Le Fortês.

Namibia History: World War I breaks out on 2 August. On 4 August, Lüderitz Bay receives word by radio telegram via Lomé in Togo that England has declared war on Germany. On 12 September, the South African Parliament decides to take part in the war. On 19 September, Union of South Africa troops land at Lüderitz Bay.

1915 - Hermann Metje and his family return from the internment camp. He is faced with a situation of conciderably reduced stocks. Requisition papers issued by the military authorities enable him to overcome cash flow problems. On 12th October Metje & Ziegler opens it's account at Standard Bank, Lüderitz Branch. This banking relationship has been maintained to the present day.

Namibia History: On 9 July, the last German Governor, Dr Theodor Seitz, and the remainder of the Schutztruppe surrender to the Union forces at Khorab. The German colony of South West Africa ceases to exist. EH Gorges is the first Administrator of the South West Africa Protectorate, proclaimed on 28 October.

1917 - Wilfried Metje, sent to Hannover in 1910 for his schooling, is called up for active military service and shortly thereafter becomes a prisoner of war in France. The steamboat "Black Prince" is stranded near Lüderitz. The payload is valued at £300,000. Metje buys the wreck for £1,000. However, when setting out to salvage the load he discovers, to his disappointment, that the ship has sunk completely, and that nothing more than the smokestacks are to be seen.

Namibia History: The Swakop River comes down in full flood and repeatedly interrupts traffic between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. Both currencies, the Imperial Mark and the British Pound Sterling, are used in trade. The value of the Mark decreases rapidly, causing severe difficulties. The British/South African occupying authorities issue an order declaring that the price of goods has to be indicated in both currencies.

1918 - Hermann Metje's oldest son Ernst is killed in action on 23rd October during the war in France. The farm "Marmora" at Cape Dernburg is sold to a mining company, fore-runner of CDM.

Namibia History: South West Africa is in the grip of the Spanish Influenza epidemic. The death toll is registered as 2,496 people. After the Treaty of Versailles is concluded, 6,374 Germans are deported from South West Africa to Germany.

1920 - Wilfried Metje is released from captivity. The estate of Heinrich Ziegler is settled. Metje decides to honour his former partner who died in battle, retains the name of the company: METJE & ZIEGLER. The curator commissioned to deal with Ziegler's estate is Dr. Hirsekorn, in the 1930's chairman of the "Deutscher Bund für Südwestafrika".

Namibia History: Roman Dutch Law is introduced into South West Africa. The League of Nations entrusts the Union of South Africa with the administration of the territory of South West Africa in terms of a “C” mandate, which specifies that in such capacity it shall “promote, to the utmost, the material and moral well-being and social progress of the inhabitants of the territory”.

1921 - In Keetmanshoop the first branch of the company is being opened. Numerous new settlers arriving from South Africa stimulate trading at Keetmanshoop. Metje carries out his first building project in Walvis Bay. The necessary building material is conveyed by ship from Lüderitz.

Namibia History: The new authorities abolish the Landesrat established in 1910, along with the various district authorities. German municipal bodies continue to exist. In Swakopmund, Barclays Bank (Dominion, Colonial and Overseas) moves into the building erected and formerly occupied by the Deutsche Afrika Bank.

1922 - Metje senior establishes the "Cape Lobster Canning Company (Pty) Ltd". Wilfried Metje plays an decisive role in founding this enterprise together with his cousin F.W. Karl P. Albrecht. He is appointed as manager of both the lobster company and Metje & Ziegler in Lüderitz.

Namibia History: Construction commences on the Windhoek–Gobabis railway line. The country languishes under a drought. Despite granting farm children a discount of 80% on their hostel fees, the authorities barely succeed in raising the reminder of the fees. The normal fee per child is £40 per annum.

1923 - Wilfried Metje travels to Hamburg on behalf of his company to establish a buying office.

Namibia History: Herero Chief Samuel Maharero dies in Bechuanaland and is buried in Okahandja.

1926 - Dr. Hans Merensky discovers diamonds south of the Orange river. Mining and production equipment, machinery and building material are supplied by Metje & Ziegler. The steam boat "Maridal" runs aground near Possession Island. In order to speed up the sale of the salvaged timber, Metje establishes a branch in Walvis Bay and stores part of the timber there.

Namibia History: All children born in South West Africa from 1 July onwards become South African/British citizens by birth. A national census records a total population of 234,790.

Axel M. Behnsen.gif

Axel M. Behnsen

Peter Bieber.gif

Peter Bieber

1945 - 1964


1927 -  An event of outstanding importance is the purchase of the steamboat Maridal, which ran aground near Possession Island in 1926. Timber salvaged from the Maridal is shipped to Walvis Bay to handle the extensive business which pours in from Windhoek and the north. This results in a full branch being opened at Walvis Bay.

1928 - Metje acquires a site in Windhoek (today cnr. Mandume Ndemufayo Ave. and Edison Street) and opens yet another branch there in order to extend trading activities effectively to the northern districts.

Namibia History: A trade and shipping agreement concluded between Germany and South Africa also applies to the mandated territory of South West Africa.

1929 - In Hannover, Germany, the merchant banker Ernst Behnsen marries Herta Metje, (born on 28.2.1908 in Lüderitz) the daughter of Hermann Metje.

Namibia History: Windhoek introduces the first automatic telephone exchange on the African continent. Applications for 216 extensions are submitted.

1930 - The discovery of rich diamond deposits near Oranjemund and the decision of "Consolidated Diamond Mines" to establish a mining town there, represents a boost in business for Metje & Ziegler. The company's extensive experience of trading along the wild and desolate coastline enables it to render valuable services to the huge project.

Namibia History: The Council of the League of Nations in Geneva rules that the Union of South Africa has no right to sovereignty in South West Africa. The Windhoek–Gobabis railway line is commissioned. The first guano platform is erected between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund. The exploitation of guano deposits is highly lucrative.

1932 - Ernst Behnsen moves to Windhoek with hus wife Herta to head the management of the Windhoek and Walvis Bay branches and takes over responsibility for trade with the northern districts. The company succeeds in acquiring an excellent site in the hear of Windhoek, the capital. The Metje & Behnsen building is erected on this site later on.

Namibia History: South West Africa’s debt to the Union of South Africa amounts to £1.8 million. South West Africa Airways Ltd suspends its service, as it proves unprofitable.

1933 - A new business centre in Windhoek's Kaiser Street is completed and Metje & Ziegler move into new offices and shops. Hermann Metje who spent his childhood on a farm near Braunschweig in Germany, makes a dream come true and acquires the farm Rietfontein near Windhoek. On Rietfontein he establishes cattle - and karakul breeding, which finds highest acclaim.

Namibia History: South West African Airways Ltd establishes a regular passenger service between Windhoek and Kimberley in South Africa. The aircraft operating this service is a four-seater, low-wing monoplane, the Junkers F13.

1934 - The SA LIBERA:, later SA MUTUAL FIRE & GENERAL INSURANCE CO. and the present MUTUAL & FEDERAL INSURANCE CO. LTD. becomes the insurance company of Metje & Ziegler. This releationship has been maintained to the present day.

Namibia History: South West Africa has a record rainy season. The railway line between Omaruru and Otjiwarongo is flooded and various road links are temporarily severed.

1936 - Ernst Behnsen acquires the exclusive franchise for MERCEDES BENZ in South West Africa. Under guidance of Karl Werner a technical department is established. Renowned German manufacturers are representd here, e.g. DAIMLER BENZ, MOTORENWERKE MANNHEIM and SIEMENS. M&Z operates one of the first diesel trucks in South West Africa. Karl Werner plays a decisive role in making diesel transport popular in the country. To convince sceptical buyers doubting the reability of the new engine, K. Werner has to agree to the condition that he will be co-driver on the first long trip of every new diesel vehicle sold. Such trips take him as far as Kavango, to the Kunene and into the Kalahari.

Namibia History: In February, South West Africa links up its telephone service with the Union of South Africa. The political scene is fraught with tension between so-called Unionists, who plead for the incorporation of South West Africa into the Union of South Africa, and another camp, the so-called South-Westers. The latter, which are mainly German-speaking, campaign for the country’s status as a mandated territory to be maintained. The Administrator reports to the Union Government that South West Africa’s national debt has increased to £2.6 million.

1938 - Hermann Metje travels to Germany to cure his ailing health. Metje & Ziegler is converted into a "Property Limited"-company.

Namibia History: The Legislative Assembly of South West Africa decides by majority vote (9 to 6) that women should enjoy the right to vote.

1939 - On 12th May Hermann Metje dies, aged 69, after serious illness. His son Wilfried takes over the chair on the board of directors. Together with Ernst Behnsen he shares the office of Managing Director.

Namibia History: World War II breaks out on 1 September. Numerous German-speaking inhabitants are interned in the course of the ensuing weeks and months and sent to internment camps in South Africa.

1940 - Ernst Behnsen is interned and sent to the camp of "Andalusia". In his absence the management of the Windhoek and Walvis Bay branches is conducted by his wife Herta Behnsen and E. Albrecht.

1944 -  Together with other internees, Ernst Behnsen is repatriated to Germany in August in accordance with a POW exchange agreement. He travels by train from Andalusia to Port Elisabeth. There he boards the Swedish luxury liner "Drotningholm" to Lisbon. The relationship between officers, crew and passengers is of such a friendly and relaxed nature, that the captain is prompted to report the amicable conduct of his passengers to the German consul in Lisbon. From Lisbon the journey further continues by train via Biarrits, Toulouse and from there by bus to Germany. Ernst Behnsen goes to live with his brother in Bad Sachsa/Harz, where he later becomes manager of a combined sawmill and joinery factory.

Namibia History: The authorities prohibit all trade with Germany.

1945 - After the end of the war and the re-establishment of normal trade relationships the company steadily expands it's activities. In Otjiwarongo a branch is opened. METJE & ZIEGLER advances to become the main supplier of building material in South West Africa. Main clients are building contractors, state departments, fishing factories, mining concerns and the farming community.

Namibia History: All movable and fixed property of so-called hostile citizens is administered by a Custodian of Enemy Property. World War II ends in Europe on 8 May. The war between the Allied Forces and Japan is declared over on 15 August. Jan Hendrik Hofmeyr, South Africa’s Minister of Finance, demands that South West Africa pays back its debt of £2.5 million. A technologically advanced creamery is built at Otjiwarongo.

1948 - After an absence of almost eight years, Ernst Behnsen returns to South West Africa. On 19th May METJE & ZIEGLER (PTY) LTD is converted into a public company quoted on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange with an original capital of £500,000. The first board of directors of the quoted company METJE & ZIEGLER LTD. consists of: A.H. Wilfried Metje, Ernst A.H.F. Behnsen, F.W. Karl P. Albrecht and William D. Bain. Company Secretary is W.K. Hans Albrecht.

Namibia History: The National Party wins the elections and takes over the government of South Africa. For the German-speaking population of South West Africa, the change of government means that the ever-present danger of deportation is over. Some 400 farms are offered to South Africans who choose to settle in South West Africa. Dr DF Malan, Prime Minister of South Africa, visits South West Africa in October and pleads for South West Africa’s representation in the Union Parliament.

1950 - Metje & Ziegler's head office is being re-located from Lüderitz to Windhoek.

Namibia History: The World Court at The Hague decides that South Africa can change the status of South West Africa only in agreement with the United Nations Organisation.

1954 - METJE & ZIEGLER expands it's trading interests by acquiring 50% shareholding in the firms of Gustav Rosenthal (Pty) Ltd. Outjo, and Weilbächer & Weilbächer (Pty) Ltd. Gobabis.

Namibia History: South Africa’s Minister for Native Affairs, Dr Hendrik Verwoerd, tables a motion on 8 June in Parliament that the administration of natives in South West Africa be transferred to his Ministry.

1955 - Another branch is opened in Tsumeb in October.

Namibia History: The first 26 holiday bungalows are erected at Swakopmund.

1956 - M&Z celebrates it's "Golden Jubilee". The Administrator of South West Africa, Mr. D. du P. Viljoen conveys his congratulations. Amongst the well-wishers on it's 50th year of existance there are furthermore, the South African Minister fro Commerce and Mining, Dr. A.J. van Rhijn, Senator Luigs on behalf of the German Ministry for Commerce and Transport, the Trade Commissioner of England, Mr. C.E. Dymond, the US Consul General, Mr. John F. Stone, the Governor of British Columbia, Mr. Frank M. Ross as well as the Director General of the Belgian Foreign Trade Ministry, Mr. M.A. Cunchy. The subsidiary M&Z MOTORS & ENGINEERING LTD. is established; it has the exclusive franchise for MERCEDEZ BENZ cars and trucks as well as for DKW cars and INTERNATIONAL (IHC) commercial vehicles. Wilfried Metje, since 1939 chairman of the board of directors and sharing the office of Managing Director with Ernst Behnsen, retires. Ernst Behnsen now becomes Chairman and sole Managing Director. Enno Harms is appointed company secretary and manager of the M&Z branch, Windhoek.

Namibia History: Prime Minister JG Strijdom maintains in Parliament that South Africa has the right to incorporate South West Africa as a fifth province. South Africa exports 207,000 head of cattle to South West Africa. The national production of butter is recorded as 10 million pounds, and the number of karakul pelts produced stand at 2.9 million. At the Orange River, the Lorelei Mine begins exploiting copper. The first private telex service is established between South West Africa and overseas (London). The Allgemeine Zeitung reports in January that railway lines are up to 1.5 metres under water. The start of a particularly good rainy season also causes heavy downpours to disrupt railway traffic at Mile 308, close to Nakop in the rail district of Karasburg.

1957 - Wilfried E. Metje Behnsen (born 1933) and Axel Metje Behnsen (born 1936) in Windhoek, sons of Ernst and Herta Behnsen, join the company. the eldest and youngest daughters, Helga and Chista, also live in Windhoek and retain close links with the company.

Namibia History: Preparations for the construction of the Goreangab Dam near Windhoek are completed.

1959 - IJ. Siegfried G. Pakleppa accepts employment with M&Z MOTORS in Windhoek.

Namibia History: The Tsumeb Mine expands into refining copper when the new smelter plant becomes operative.

1961 - METJE & ZIEGLER LTD. is a substantial supplier of building materials required for the construction of the biggest storage dam in South West Africa, the HARDAP DAM.

Namibia History: The Union of South Africa becomes the Republic of South Africa. Together with South Africa, South West Africa converts from the former British currency (pounds, shillings and pence) to a new decimal system where 1 rand is the equivalent of 100 cents.

1964 - Guido E.W.H.L. Rathke takes over the position of company secretary.

Namibia History: Following the recommendations of the so-called Odendaal Commission, South Africa applies its ‘homelands’ policy to South West Africa.

1967 - 1986


1987 - 1995

1967 -  Construction commences on a twelve storey high rise building, the first of it's kind in Windhoek, on the site in Kaiser Street acquired by M&Z in 1932. M&Z MOTORS obtains the largest order in it's history for the deliver of 100 international (IHC) trucks. Shipment from the USA is initially delayed on account of a strike in New York harbour. Shortly after taking to sea, the ship is caught in a violent storm and the vehicles in the hold are seriously damaged. 35 of the consignment of 100 trucks have to be scrapped on arrival. Ernst Behnsen acquires a single engined Cessna 182 for the company. The pilot is Heinz Schubert who initially is only employed temporarily but later becomes the company's fulltime pilot until 1980. A decorated war veteran, Schubert gained his flying experience during World War II when he first piloted glider planes used for carrying heavy cargo and eventually advanced to the jet fighter aircraft Me-163. Besides flying for M&Z, Schubert also works in the machine tool section until 1984 when he retires. Management and employees enjoy the use of his trustworthy aviation skills for more than 13 years

Namibia History: The black inhabitants of Windhoek are forced to move from what is now known as the “Old Location” to the township of Katutura.

1968 - In November M&Z establishes the company LIONS MOTORS and takes over the franchise for the PEUGEOT range of automobiles.

Namibia History: The population of Windhoek is estimated at 67,000.

1969 - The new business and office centre in Kaiser Street is completed in October. It is called the METJE BEHNSEN BUILDING.

Namibia History: In March, both the United Nations (UN) Security Council and UN General Assembly demand that South Africa withdraw from South West Africa by October.

1970 - M&Z takes over the share capital of Metropol (Pty) Ltd. and thereby becomes the owner of a prime site in Windhoek.

Namibia History: The Swakoppoort Dam is commissioned.

1972 - The first two units at the Van Eck Power Station in Windhoek are commissioned.

1974 - On 19th August Ernst Behnsen, aged 77, dies in Windhoek. The METJE & ZIEGLER group of companies, the expansion and consolidation of which he pursued with energetic vision, is his legacy. Claus Jürgen Schuyling van Doorn, married to Christa, the youngest daughter of the Behnsen's, becomes the Managing Director of the group of companies. The office of chairman of the board of directors is taken by A.J. Pickard. Whilst on holiday, Mrs. Herta Behnsen (born Metje) passes away in Vienna, after a short illness.

Namibia History: The international oil crisis makes itself felt in South West Africa as well, where the authorities limit the sale of petrol over weekends.

1975 - METJE & ZIEGLER LTD. opens it's 6th branch in Swakopmund.

Namibia History: On 1 September, the Turnhalle Conference convenes for the first time. South West Africa’s neighbour, Angola, is declared an independent nation. However, for the next 20 years, civil war ravages the country.

1977 Namibia History: The farming community begins to suffer the ravages of an extended drought.

1978 - Ernst G. Blohm, a friend of long standing of the Behnsen family and an experienced director of large South African companies, is chosen to chair the board of directors. Axel M. Behnsen continues in his position as Managing Director of LIONS MOTORS, which he took over in 1973 and retains until 1980.

Namibia History: In September, The UN Security Council in September passes Resolution 435, intended as basis for an internationally acceptable settlement of the Namibia dispute. In December the first ever “one man, one vote” elections are held in South West Africa to establish a Constituent Assembly.

1979 - METJE & ZIEGLER LTD. acquires majority share holding of the company Südwest Autohaus (Pty) Ltd. M&Z thereby expand their interest on the automobile market with VOLKSWAGEN passenger and commercial vehicles as well as the AUDI range of vehicles.

Namibia History: In May, the Constituent Assembly is converted into a National Assembly, vested with the highest legislative powers in the country. However, draft legislation still has to be ratified by the Administrator General.

1980 - In January Wilfried A.H. Metje, aged 82, dies in Windhoek. He has no descendants.

Namibia History: The price of gold rockets to US$717 on the London Stock Market.

1981 - Mr Axel Behnsen is appointed Managing Director of METJE & ZIEGLER LTD. as from 1st July. For the third successive generation the incumbent of this office is a member of the Mtje-Behnsen families.

Namibia History: A national census, the first since 1970, establishes that the population of South West Africa has surpassed 1 million.

1983 -  Mr. Alexander von der Pforte succeeds Mr. Guido Rathke as company secretary, who retires.

Namibia History: The three-year-old government is disbanded and all legislative and executive authority reverts to the South African Administrator General, Mr Danie Hough.

1985 -  Mr. E. Peter H. Bieber is appointed chairman of the board of directors to succeed Mr. Ernst G. Blohm. M&Z acquires exclusive rights for JET STORES in Otjiwarongo and thereby expands it's range of products in the department store division to include clothing.

Namibia History: On 17 June, South Africa appoints a new Central Government for South West Africa, in which six political parties participate.

1986 - METJE & ZIEGLER LTD. celebrates it's 80th Anniversary. The company concludes it's financial year 1985/86 with a remarkable profit. The reserves of the M&Z group of companies now exceed it's chare capital more than five fold. M&Z now provides work for 543 employees in Windhoek, Lüderitz, Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Otjiwarongo, Tsumeb and Keetmanshoop. It is one of the country's leading enterprises for the marketing of automobiles, building material, hardware, machine tools as well as consumer goods such as domestic, luxury and sport articles. Mr. H P Rilk resigns from the Board of Directors.

Namibia History: The reports by four Commissions of Inquiry are tabled in the National Assembly, which is housed in the traditional assembly hall of the old Landesrat in Windhoek’s Tintenpalast. The Commissions investigated mining and prospecting in SWA/Namibia (Thirion Report), the feasibility of railways and road transport (Transport Report), fisheries (Fisheries Report), and security legislation in force at the time (Van Dyk Report). The reports stimulate extensive public debate, with some even leading to protest action.

1987 - Mr. G E W L H Rathke resigns from the Board of Directors while Mr. C S van Doorn resigns as Director from all subsidiaries as well as associated companies. Mr. W A Böttger is appointed non-executive Director to the Board. Mr. E G H H Blohm, former Chairman of the Company and Director for 12 years dies on 16 December 1987.

Namibia History: Battle of Cuito Cuenavale takes place in southern Angola. Namibia has 4,402 km of paved roads, 23,505 km of gravel roads, 13,019 km of earth roads, 228 km of salt-gravel roads, and 418 km of sand-poor roads. Trillions of cubic feet of very clean natural gas are discovered in the Kudu Gas Field off Namibia’s shores. Talks are renewed between Angola and the USA representative, Chester Crocker, regarding Namibia, the Cuban troop withdrawal and diplomatic ties.

1988 - After rejoining the Company, Mr. P A Francis is appointed executive Director. The Company achieves a market share in excess of 30% in ther passenger automobile market in the country.

Namibia History: The Supreme Court gives an advisory opinion that AG8 contradicts the Bill of Fundamental Human Rights as contained in Proclamation R101; the SA Court of Appeal rejects the opinion. Beginning June, 75,000 school students boycott schools throughout the country in protest at the South African army and police repressions; the boycott begins at the Ponhofi Secondary School in Ovamboland. The Geneva and Brazzaville protocols and the New York treaties providing for the withdrawal of Cuba and South Africa from Angola and implementation of the revised version of Resolution 435 of 1978 as from 1 April 1989 are agreed between Angola, Cuba and South Africa under the auspices of the USA and the Soviet Union. The Mukorob (a.k.a. “Finger of God") near Tses collapses during a heavy storm on 4 December.

1989 - The retail shop in Keetmanshoop is closed and the Hardware & Building Department continues at the building yard. With the start of the new financial year, the activities of the Company are divisionalised and are now trading under M+Z Retail Stores, M+Z Hardware & Building Materials and M+Z Properties. Mr. C J S van Doorn resigns as Director of the Company and Mrs. C S van Doorn is appointed Director to the Board.

Namibia History: A theoretical ceasefire is undermined by renewed fighting between SWAPO and South African troops in the north. About 300 SWAPO fighters die in clashes with South African forces as the peace plan is supposed to start. Over 40,000 refugees return to Namibia. SWAPO wins the United Nations-supervised elections. Implementation of Resolution 435 commences. The United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) is progressively deployed to supervise and control the transition to independence, while the South African Administrator-General remains in office. The Constituent Assembly is elected (7–11 November).

1990 - The Retail Store at Tsumeb and Walvis Bay are closed while the Windhoek moves into various boutiques at the newly built Wernhil Park and Sanlam Centre. Mr. J S G Pakleppa retires as Deputy Managing Director and dies on 9 June 1990. On 12 October 1990, Standard Bank congratualtes Metje & Ziegler Ltd on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of their association.

Namibia History: On 21 March, South West Africa becomes the independent Republic of Namibia A democratic Constitution following the implementation of Resolution 435 is adopted Sam Nujoma is sworn in as President. Namibia becomes a member of several international bodies, which include the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the British Commonwealth, the Southern African Development Co-ordination Conference, and the South African Customs Union. Namibia’s central bank, the Bank of Namibia, is established. The Office of the Ombudsman is established.

1991 - The Company introduces a Deferred Compensation Scheme for management staff. Mr. R Moens, General Manager of Südwest Autohaus (Pty) Ltd, is appointed President of the Motor Industries Federation of Namibia. The Retail concern at Otjiwarongo is sold,while Hardware & Building continue at the building yard.

Namibia History: Namibia enters into a bilateral monetary agreement with South Africa and accedes to the Multilateral Monetary Agreement to regularise its position within the Common Monetary Area. The Bank of Namibia issues its first treasury bills and a fledgling local interbank money market is established. The Racial Discrimination Prohibition Act is passed.

1992 - The Company acquires part of the minority shareholding of Südwest Autohaus (Pty) Ltd. M+Z Motors & Engineering Ltd and Südwest Autohaus (Pty) Ltd are also divisionalised and are now trading under the names of M+Z Motors and Autohaus Windhoek respectively. The keetmanshoop brach has been closed in it's entirety. Metje & Ziegler buys the property of Lions Motors. he Company disposes of it's interest in G Rosenthal (Pty) Ltd after 39 years of association.

Namibia History: A Joint Namibian-South African Administration is established to govern Walvis Bay until the enclave’s reintegration. The first local and regional elections are held within new political demarcations of the country. Namibia becomes the 105th member of the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade and joins the Preferential Trade Area for Eastern and Southern African States. Namibia’s Foreign Investment Act of 1990 provides a framework for structuring investment packages. The Labour Act is passed.

1993 - Metje & Ziegler (Ltd) has also been listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange on 12 March 1993. Major alterations / improvements in excess of N$ 4 million starts at M+Z Motors and Autohaus Windhoek with a modern Audi Centre at the corner of the Autohaus workshop property. Mr. P A Francis resigns from the Board. The Tsumeb branch of M+Z Hardware is closed.

Namibia History: The Namibia Dollar is introduced. The first notes are issued on 16 September, followed by coins three months later. Frank Fredericks wins gold in a time of 19.85 seconds in the 200-metre dash at the World Championships in Stuttgart. Mercedes Benz Stuttgart donates a Mercedes Benz C-class to Frank Fredericks in celebration of his victory, making him the first owner of this model in southern Africa.

1994 - The Company disposes of it's M+Z Motors service and car sales operation at Otjiwarongo. The Mitsubishi Colt franchise is acquired and added to the Mercedes Benz and Honda ranges at M+Z Motors

Namibia History: Walvis Bay and 12 offshore islands are reincorporated into the territory of the Republic of Namibia. SWAPO wins the National Assembly elections with a two-thirds majority. Nujoma wins the first Presidential elections. The Social Security Act is passed.

1995 - Early in 1995, the Audi Centre is judged 2nd best selling Audi Dealership in Southern Africa. Mr. D O N Mathews restires as Director of the Company after having served the Board for more than 21 years.

Namibia History:  The Walvis Bay Lagoon is designated as a Ramsar site – a Wetland of International Importance. Namibia’s population is estimated at 1,652,000.

1996 - 2000


2001 - 2006

1996 -  The outside shareholding of Weilbächer & Weilbächer (Pty) Ltd is acquired. The M+Z Retail Stores operations are closed in it's entirety. The Swakopmund branch of M+Z Hardware and Building Materials is discontinued and activities are moved to Walvis Bay. Mr. A M Behnsen retires as Managing Director after 16 years but unanimously elected Deputy Chairman. Mr. Francois Uys, former Managing Director f Trans Namib Ltd is appointed Managing Director as from 1 October 1996. In November, the 90th Anniversary of Metje & Ziegler Ltd, 60th Anniversary of the Mercedez Benz franchise and 45 years of M+Z Motors are celebrated. Südwest Autohaus (Pty) Ltdis voluntarily liquidated and de-registered the following year.

Namibia History: President Sam Nujoma pays a State visit to the Federal Republic of Germany, during which Export Processing Zones in Namibia are discussed. A Cabinet reshuffle takes place. The Married Persons Equality Act is passed.

1997 - The Ssang Yong and Daewoo franchisesare obtained and tre under the subsidiary company Lions Motors (Pty) Ltd. and a new motor sales and service outlet is established in Lüderitz. The corporate aircraft and some non-performing properties are sold and an erf in the Southern Industrial Area is acquired where a Mercedes Benz truck repair facility is opened. The Company introduces a Chare Option Scheme for senior staff. Mr. R A A Gower formerly Chief Executive of C.D.M. and Mr. E P Shiimi are appointed to the Board of the Company.

Namibia History: The liberalisation of exchange control takes effect.

1998 - A resolution was taken to issue 1 005 420 ordinary shares under a claw-back agreement which are all accepted. This is the first increase in issued share capital since 1948. The proceeds being invested in the expansion of workshop facilities. An acquisition of Vale Freightliner (Pty) Ltd in the Cape is concluded and is now trading as M+Z Freightliner (Pty) Ltd. Activities of Weilbächer & Weilbächer (Pty) Ltd, Gobabis is discontinued. An additional used car outlet in Windhoek is opened. It is resolved by the Board to increase the authorized share capital of the Company by 5 200 000 ordinary shares to 10 000 000. Mr. E P H Bieber retires as Chairman but remains on the Board of Directors and Mr. R A A Gower is unanimously elected as new Chairman.

Namibia History: Standard Bank Namibia launches the first banking website in the country. Namibia sends troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo to support Laurent Kabila against rebel attacks. The Constitution of the Republic of Namibia is changed to allow President Sam Nujoma to run for a third term. President Roman Herzog of the Federal Republic of Germany comes to Namibia on a State visit. Tsumeb Corporation Ltd (TCL) stops production and closes down the mine. The Affirmative Action (Employment) Act comes into effect. The Trans-Kalahari Highway is inaugurated by President Sam Nujoma and President Ketumile Masire of Botswana. Namibia Harvest becomes the first black-controlled company to list on the Namibian Stock Exchange. Harry “The Terminator” Simon defeats Ronald Wright to become Namibia’s first World Boxing Organisation junior middleweight champion. First dinosaur fossil to be found in Namibia is discovered by scientists at the Waterberg National Park. President Sam Nujoma is presented with the prestigious Gift to the Earth Award by the President of the World Wildlife Fund for Namibia’s communal area conservancy programme. Baster leader Hans Diergaardt dies; the Baster community decides to drop their long-standing legal battle over land and embrace the policy of national unity and reconciliation.

1999 - A further 2 012 573 ordinary shares are issued under Renouncable Rights Issue. The Otjiwarongo and Walvis Bay branches of M+Z Hardware & Building are closed and activities transfered to Windhoek. A joint venture with Freightliner KZN (Pty) Ltd in Pinetown, Natal, is entered into. As a result of the merger of Mercedez Benz and Chrysler, the Chrysler franchise is added to the M+Z Motors range. The Gobabis franchise of Delta is acquired together with land and buildings

Namibia History: A state of emergency is declared in the Caprivi Region following attacks by separatists. A new political party, the Congress of Democrats, is formed. SWAPO increases its majority in the National Assembly elections. President Nujoma is re-elected with 77% support. A peace treaty is signed with Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe. The conflict with Botswana over the Kasikili/Sedudu border is resolved peacefully as the International Court of Justice decision is accepted.

2000 - The remaining 50% shareholding in Freightliner KZN (pty) Ltd is acquired to make it a wholly owned subsidiary. The Daewoo franchise is terminated and the Delta franchise obtained for Lüderitz. With the number of employees now standing at 504, the Company closes it's financial year 2000 with a remarkable profit.

Namibia History: Growth in mining increases due to new investment in Skorpion Zinc Mine and the resumption of Ongopolo Mine (formerly TCL). A Southern African Development Community Summit is held in Windhoek. President Sam Nujoma serves as Co-Chairperson of the United Nations Millennium Summit of Heads of State and Government. Eight Millennium Development Goals are agreed by members of the United Nations. Namibia’s gross domestic product totals N$24.1 billion (US$3.5 billion).

2001 - M+Z Motors is awarded the Pajero franchise with effect from 1 April. A car showroom for Delta is opened in Lüderitz. Air Mebeco (Pty) Ltd is deregistered, but the name is reserved. Old Mutual Life Assurance Company sells 1,000,000 shares to Herta Ernst Investments (Pty) Ltd, the controlling shareholder of the M+Z Group at N$7.50 per share. The Tsumeb branch of M+Z Commercial Vehicles is closed.

Namibia History: Namibia’s manufacturing sector is boosted by a large investment in the Ramatex textile factory, which employs 5,000 workers. Standard Bank Namibia proves to be the most efficient bank in Namibia, measured in terms of traditional financial criteria such as cost-to-income ratio and return on equity. Out of every 1,000 sexually active Namibians, 200 are HIV-positive.

2002 - Barloworld negotiate the taking over of Freightliner KZN (Pty) Ltd. The Tal Strasse, Joule Street, Lazarett Street and Edison Street properties in Windhoek are sold to Oryx Properties. Autohaus opens a branch at the Hans Kriess Garage premises in Swakopmund. M+Z Freightliner (Pty) Ltd in Cape Town is sold to Sandown Motors. Property owned by Freightliner in Cape Town is sold to Marriott Properties. Mr Stefan Ernst Schuyling van Doorn (born in October 1971), second-eldest son of Mrs Christa and Mr Claus Jürgen Schuyling van Doorn, and Mrs Verena Grüttemeyer (born in May 1971), second daughter of Mr Axel Metje and Mrs Karin Behnsen are appointed as Alternate Directors to Mrs Christa Schuyling van Doorn and Mr Axel Metje Behnsen, respectively, on 25 September.

Namibia History: Internet banking comes into operation at Standard Bank Namibia.

2003 - Metje & Ziegler Ltd is delisted on the JSE and NSX. The Hardware and Building Materials Division, together with the properties, are sold to M Pupkewitz & Sons (Pty) Ltd. The company M+Z Motors and Engineering Ltd changes its name to M+Z Motors (Pty) Ltd.

Namibia History: Government declares that illegal land occupations will not be permitted.

2004 - Mr SES van Doorn and Mrs V Grüttemeyer are appointed as Executive Directors. Messrs RAA Gower and F Uys resign from the Board. Mr EPH Bieber is reappointed Chairman, and Mr SES van Doorn is appointed Managing Director of the M+Z Group. The Metje Behnsen Building in Independence Avenue is sold. The new Volkswagen showroom is opened in Edison Street. Mr RL Lumb, former Managing Partner of Ernst & Young in the Western Cape, South Africa, is invited to join the Board with the intention of appointing him as Chairman.

Namibia History: President Nujoma makes clear he will not seek a fourth term. Hon. Hifikepunye Pohamba is chosen as SWAPO’s presidential candidate. SWAPO maintains a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly. Hifikepunye Pohamba is elected President with 76% of the vote. The Anti-corruption Commission is inaugurated. Germany offers a formal apology for colonial-era killings of tens of thousands of Herero's, but rules out compensation victims’ descendants. The revised Labour Act is passed. The Water Resources Management Act is passed. A bridge across the Zambezi River between Namibia and Zambia opens, amid hopes for boost to regional trade. Namibia’s population is estimated at 1.8 million.

2005 - Metje & Ziegler Ltd sells Erf 112 in Church Street, Gobabis, to the subsidiary company Herta Ernst Investments (Pty) Ltd. Mrs Verena Grüttemeyer, Director of M+Z Motors (Pty) Ltd, is appointed Managing Director of the wholly owned subsidiary as well as Dealer Principal of the Daimler Chrysler franchise. The Volkswagen franchise is acquired from Volkswagen South Africa for northern Namibia as well. Volkswagen outlets in Tsumeb and Ongwediva are taken over from Northgate Motors. Mr RL Lumb is appointed Chairman of the Board on 1 July. Mr Stefan Ernst Schuyling van Doorn, Managing Director of Autohaus Windhoek (Pty) Ltd, is appointed Managing Director of the wholly owned subsidiary as well as Dealer Principal for Autohaus Windhoek and other subsidiaries. He also remains as Group Managing Director. The General Motors showroom in Lüderitz is moved to Mariental. Mrs Helga von Bergen, major shareholder and granddaughter of the company’s founder, Hermann Metje, dies on 11 December.

Namibia History: Hifikepunye Pohamba is sworn in as President. Government begins the expropriation of white-owned farms as part of its land reform programme; some 42% of the country is commercial farmland, 43% communal or tribal land, and the rest is protected wildlife area.

2006 - Head Office staff is relocated to M+Z Motors and Autohaus. M+Z Motors opens a separate pre-owned car facility. An agreement is entered into with Bank Windhoek Ltd to provide floor-plan facilities for pre-owned vehicles. The company celebrates its centenary on 13 October.

Namibia History: A national anti-polio vaccination campaign is launched, following the first outbreak of the disease since 1996, and is successfully concluded. Namibia's ranking of 2 for political rights and 3 for civil rights – 1 represents the ideal of the highest degree of freedom – has remained unchanged since 2003; the survey is conducted annually by Freedom House, an independent non-governmental organisation which defines freedom as the opportunity to act spontaneously in a variety of fields outside the control of Government and other centres of potential domination. Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt, daughter of one of the world's most famous showbiz couples, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, is born in Swakopmund and becomes a Namibian citizen. The Environmental Assessment and Management Bill are expected to be passed.

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