Dear Member,

The chamber and the entire Goldfields lost one of its most respected and worthy individuals. He will be truly missed. It is with regret that we inform you of Mr Ian Auret’s funeral arrangements.

Ian Auret’s funeral will be held on Thursday 17th March at 10h30 at LIGHUIS, corner Constantia and Buren Streets, Flamingo Park, Welkom.


Auret came to Welkom in 1953, when he was only twenty years old. At first he worked for Anglo American and then he worked as branch manager for Incledon’s before he started his own business, Imperial Developments( which is still a very successful running concern), in 1967.

For 40 years he was involved with the Chamber of Business and for 39 years he served on the executive committee. He was also the president during 1975, 1991 & 1992. He also served on the Board of Directors of the FGF Development Centre where he did sterling work to get projects on  the road, to assist with visiting foreign delegations and to  be the safety lid on  all proceedings when  meetings get heated. He did the same as a DA- Councillor.

~~~THE history of Welkom’s roads, its road safety, the world of motor racing and many other aspects over the years are deeply intertwined with the life of Ian Auret. He is synonymous with the free traffic principles of Welkom and he is known as the anti-traffic light man.

From a very young age Auret was interested in the world of motoring. And it has remained his passion from those early years of exciting developments in the growing and evolving city of Welkom.
In 1968 he was the chairman of the Welkom Road Safety Association. In collaboration with the first traffic chief of Welkom, Mr Ben de Swart, he worked on traffic aspects and road safety. During this time Welkom won the State President’s Award for the safest town or city in the Republic for three consecutive years. “What made this award even more special was that we started at the 100% notch in that first year. When we won, they took our starting point from where we had stopped. “Then in the third year we again started at the point we had reached in the second year.

“The powers that be then decided to stop the competition. “Nobody ever wondered why Welkom was such a safe city and nobody even bothered to find out.”
Giel de Wet, the then MP, and Ian Auret were responsible for the compilation of the first safety belt legislation in South Africa. De Wet put the proposal to parliament and this was seconded by the opposition party member, Helen Suzmann. “It stands to reason that this legislation was passed.”

In 1959 Auret started Motorsport Free State with Wynand Britz and Ian Galloway as founding members. The old Goldfields Raceway (forerunner to Phakisa) was the brainchild of Herman van Hees, Fritz Jaekel, Ami Weeber (MEC from Odendaalsrus) and Ian Auret.

Auret has not only left deep imprints in the development of the world of motoring, road safety and traffic in Welkom, but also provincially, nationally and even internationally.

Among others he has served as a jury member for the Federation of International Automobile (FIA) and he was president of SA Motorsport. He is an honorary life member of the Automobile Association. Auret is still involved in many national and international bodies as well as the Welkom Road Safety Association. Apart from the world of motoring, Auret has left his mark on the community in general and was still actively involved in the Chamber of Business.

He was a founding member of the Welkom Old Auto Club, a founding member of the Welkom Publicity Association and the chairman of the steering committee for three years.

He was a charter member of the Flamingo Rotary Club, and together with Koos van Zyl and  Bill Odendaal they established the Amari School.

In his own words: “The list goes on.” Yes, it is a rare pleasure to speak to one of the major forces in the establishment of Welkom’s traffic network, its safety rules and regulations and its neat and orderly road system, to listen to someone who was intricately involved in the birth of the city and its life pulse.

Auret stated : “Did you know why they were prepared to make Welkom a city, even though it did not have a cathedral, a university or the adequate population?
“Very few people actually know why,” he concedes.
“At that stage Welkom (the town) produced 23,8% of the free world’s gold.
“It is phenomenal to think that this once small dusty town was a major player in the world’s economy.”