A note from Peter Petersen – Tender & Marketing Development Director

I have been a part of CREC for 26 of its 30 years and even though we as directors have driven it in new directions and to new heights, through all the hardships we have faced as a company, and survived, none of it would have been possible without the amazing staff we have working with us. Great companies are built on the employees that work for it and I don’t think there’s any company with greater employees than ours.

When I think of CREC it reminds me of a proverb that a very good friend of mine always used to tell me:

“Water reflects the man’s image, but the heart reflects the man”

and with every day that passes I can see how much heart is put into this company by its employees. I think we have the right recipe in our company when it comes to all our employees as we are different to other companies; we all share a close bond that makes it feel like one big family.

So I would just like to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart, and I’m sure I speak on behalf of the other directors when I say this, thank you for your absolute dedication to us and the company, because without you.. We would be nothing.

Attention: Staff, Customers and Suppliers

Re: 30 Years and still standing!

It makes me proud as the acting Chief Operating Officer of Cato Ridge Electrical Construction (CREC) to announce that we have crossed another milestone in the history of our company. When CREC was founded in 1986 with just a handful of employees, we could hardly foresee our growth to an established national company (never mind a sub-international company) with a staff growth pattern reaching 300 employees over the years in past.

It is with appreciation and gratitude that we state that CREC could not have come this far as a company without the loyal support and hard work of each member of the CREC team and with this we say thank you to each and every employee who contributed to our success over the years. Every one of our employees plays a very important role in the development and success of our company. It is for our employees’ enthusiasm, support and dedication that have brought us to this height of achievement, CREC shall ever remain indebted to the contributions of its employees.

CREC has countless achievements and accomplishments, especially when we look back at the last two year’s most difficult trading business conditions. CREC has proved to be exceptionally efficient and productive whilst being under Business Rescue and our feat to date speaks volumes of our attitude and positive approach to rehabilitating ourselves as a top leader within our respective industry. Without the support of our excellent team, CREC would never have been this big nor would we be in a position to tell the tale so to speak.

We are also grateful to our clients and customers who trusted in us to help them provide immaculate services and projects. Their demands, challenges and feedbacks have pushed us to go ahead and improve vigorously which has benchmarked our minimum expectations within our industry. Our success story remains incomplete without the support of our clients and customers. Not only have they made us a part of their lives but also helped us reach out to the world. They spread the word faster and in a better way than any of our marketing means could.

In recognition of this anniversary we would also like to thank our suppliers and subcontractors whom have always supported us over the years and whom have provided us impeccable services to keep projects constant and on track. We thank you again for the support and efforts made over the years and we hope that together we will go through many more years of business dealings.

We plan to keep our business and relations in a developing movement with all concerned parties and to continue providing our customers/clients/employees nothing less than the best. With your support, we wish to explore new heights year on year.

The outlook for the coming year might appear to be “doom & gloom” but there is always a positive way forward, we just need to focus on the positive alternatives surrounding the negatives!

Here is to the next 30 years……

All the best.

Arn Petersen

Chief Operating Officer (COO)


Hugh Coleman – Mechanical Manager

We were requested to give you all a newsletter of a different kind this month. As you may know or not know CREC has been in the industry for 30 years. The vast amount of projects that have gone through our doors has enriched this company to be one of the best, if not the best, in the electrical construction field nationally.

When I first met Kim Petersen in 1984 at Gromor Compost where I previously worked as a diesel mechanic I had called him out to repair an electrical fault at the factory. He had a company called Contact Electrical. With both of us having served in the SADF we had a lot of comparing stories to talk about which in those days was an instant bonding. That’s one thing the army did do right in the good old days was bring us all together no matter who you were or where you were from, funny enough Kim and I were virtually in the same army camp together on the border but this only came out once we had been discussing different dates and times etc.

Well that’s when I got to know Kim and listening to what he had to say and the electrical knowledge he had stored in his head was amazing one would have had to be stupid as to not imagine where he was steering his ship in life. We became good friends and Gromor Compost kept him quite busy. Kim went back to JHB for a while and then arrived back here and worked at Keens Electrical counter sales etc. this was part of his mission to gain as much knowledge within his field.

When CREC was up and running in 1986 I used to repair and service Kim’s vehicle in my spare time for a bit of extra cash and as the years went by the fleet of vehicles and plant grew slowly keeping me busy most nights. I was still working for Gromor Compost which alone was a challenge in life with 18 horse and trailer trucks 15 tractors, 6 pay loaders and 4 bakkies which used to keep me on the ball all the time. By this time Peter had moved down to KZN and CREC was very busy in all different fields of mechanical & construction work. As the years went by I used to help out on weekends doing all different mechanical jobs at different institutions for CREC and the fleet of vehicles were growing at a rapid rate always needing servicing and repairs. Cato started building overhead power lines and needed a specialised vehicle to transport poles up mountains etc.

Kim found a Migirus Deutz six wheel truck down in Cape Town which he bought. We opted to meet the seller in Oudtshoorn and attend the famous Buffalo bike rally at the same time. This was a well-deserved rest in our busy schedules; having ridden our motor bikes down, partied hard the whole weekend and loading them on the back of the truck and then driving the truck back on the Sunday. Wow what an experience. That was one of many that has kept my blood pumping at full tilt over the years.

hugh 1  hugh 2


In 1998 I was retrenched from Gromor and opened my own little truck workshop which kept me busy around the clock but a lot of the work came from CREC with the fleet of vehicles having grown to bakkies, trucks, TLB’s and an immense amount of construction equipment. I also started doing a lot of overflow work for a Durban Corporation under the CREC banner cutting trees under power lines, painting poles, bulk changing of street light globes and replacing poles etc. I was quite the spectacle having owned a Bantam bakkie at the time loaded to the hilt every morning with 3 x 11mt step ladders on the roof, boxes of globes and 8 boys; gee man, talk about burning the candle at both ends. This whole trip in my life lasted about three years when it became obvious that 99% of my time was spent at CREC when I was offered a permanent position.

In 2001 I joined Cato Ridge Electrical as a mechanic and having seen what I was in for, because the first thing that you learn about this amazing company is that you can and will do everything & anything from gardening to installing and repairing the most intricate machinery and just simply enjoying your daily unexpected challenge. I have been educated by the best in the world having carried jobs, breakdowns and projects that I thought I could never in my wildest dreams have accomplish. But with the Petersen brothers at your back we seem to just annihilate everything in sight.

In my permanent trip through memory lane I have assisted in building workshops and factories. Some of them were second hand buildings that were bought at a good price but the challenge was breaking them down and transporting all the different sections back to Cato Ridge, sand blasting them and then reassembling the factories to what they look like today. In fact when you see them today you can’t even begin to think what blood, sweat and tears went into them. Then there was all the famous landscaping, and building all the different gardens. When I say building I mean it. A few hundred thousands of tons of sand had to be transported in to make all the mountains of gardens on the premises today, not to mention all the rocks for the different features. There was one particular rock that is placed at the gate that weighed around 15 tons I drove our 20 ton mobile crane on that particular day with my heart in my throat as it was being lowered into place.

I have done some memorable engineering projects when we started building Calorifiers for hospitals and prison hot water reticulation. We had to certify our welders for this precision work and making sure everything was done to the book, being x-rayed and witnessed by an engineer when pressure tested; this was a great challenge on its own having built some of the biggest tanks without any problems. We had also installed walking beam overhead cranes in our factories and prison facilities with nail biting precision. Some of my older trucks I have stripped down to the last bolt and restored them back to original spec. This becomes so rewarding when you have finished a project like this. Our vehicles have always been our advertising tools with the fleet having grown to a whopping 41 units and that’s not even counting our mechanical equipment which gets serviced at our workshops.




I was sent to the UK in 2008 to see the assembling process of some generators that we were going to build in our Mechanical workshops in the initial stages of load shedding. It was an eye opener to witness a mass production workshop that had been running for years but once I left there I knew we could do it better and far more efficiently; which we did. Our first generators were originally built in our mechanical workshop and then once we had perfected the process the operation was sent to our manufacturing division who still build one of the best generators in the industry. All our generators are witnessed by the client under load test at our testing division that is state of the art.








One of the installations that CREC perfected was installing underground cable; this has taken us to the weirdest places. We spent about two months under the harbour entrance in the service tunnel pulling in the cables that feed Portnet on the Bluff side of the harbour. It was strange when you have been under the sea for days on end not seeing the passing parade. I must say at times you wonder what would happen if it collapsed with tons of water rushing in. Other cable laying jobs that were memorable was having to drill under rivers in Kwadakuza to lay sleeves to protect our cables. It was a first for the company that we had used these but with all our brains put together it turned out to be a trouble free challenge. A more recent cable job was the in Pietermaritzburg where all our trenches had to run virtually through the centre of town. To keep calm with the public verbally abusing you on a daily basis because you are digging up the roads that their hard earned tax money was used to build. Keeping a straight face and trying to explain that this was to upgrade their electricity supply became fruitless to say the least. The drums of cable weighing 15 tons with a cable external diameter of 110mm, the length being 800mt, needed a lot of careful planning to install. But like anything we do we were winching in 800mt of cable around 9 corners going through 4 sleeved road crossings in two hours ten minutes.

HUGH 16       HUGH 17




HUGH 19  HUGH 20


I have managed constructing an overhead line in Swaziland to one of the sugar mills that really became a headache getting equipment across the border. But I will say that once that was sorted out the job went well, the only other real stumbling block was hitting solid rock that took a 50 ton pecker two days to dig one pole hole. The unbearable heat and dusty conditions put yet another few extra years on us as a well spirited team. We had finished this job just a couple of days before final commissioning feeling very confident that all went well. Unfortunately the company that installed the transformers had a problem as their transformers were down to earth resulting in them having to remove them and transporting them back to Jhb which took about a month.






There are so many things that I could talk about on my long association with this magical company but it would only be fair to write a book and not take up the whole newsletter. Looking back on all the ups and downs, blood, sweat and tears from my long association with Cato Ridge Electrical I sometimes think how the hell did I manage to stay sane. But let me tell you: I wouldn’t have swopped it for anything. The whole family that we are have bonded better than a lot of close families. We have an inner core of staff members and not forgetting the owners that are inseparable. We will, I suppose, all go on pension together “soon” and talk and laugh about the good old days. But in the meantime the Petersen sons are holding the reins and steering this huge ship that will be around for the next 30 years and longer.


 Andre Grobler – Technical Support Manager

Congratulations Cato Ridge Electrical!! 30 years in this tough industry is a wonderful achievement. We all know the power house Cato Ridge Electrical has become, but not many people presently employed in the company will ever know or remember the early years.

My first encounter with Cato Ridge Electrical was in the late 80’s. Kim’s cousin Gareth and I both worked for the then Hebox Textiles and Cato Ridge Electrical often did construction jobs for Hebox. Kim’s partner in those days was Len Drackson and the company was small, but had a good reputation. I remember Kim was a bit busy at one stage and asked me to take some leave and do a job for him at the then Banana Board in Hammarsdale; it wasn’t long after that, that Kim offered me a position. That was in 1990. Kim had bought Len out when I joined the company, and at one point the company comprised of Kim, Gareth and myself and if I remember correctly Kim’s wife Jacqui did the office work. In those days our company dress was Teesav shorts, kaki shirts and veld skoene. Back then even Kim worked on the tools.

Kim had a vision for Cato Ridge Electrical and nothing was going to stop him achieving his goal. He was a driving force; he worked harder than anyone else, in fact one of our workers once told me they called Kim ‘The Camel’, because when he came to site he never ate or drank, just worked. Consulting engineers were surprised at his knowledge, his work force admired and had great respect for him, and would have gone to any length for him. We were not just a construction company but a family. Peter joined Kim and our family and company grew, developed and evolved into new areas of the industry.

I recall with fond memories the Comrades day festivities at Cato Ridge Electrical. Clients, consultants and staff would gather, food and drink was abundant and Kim’s brother Tony and his band would play music as the weary runners passed by and the festivities continued late into the night.

Where the now Voltex MV/LV factories are standing was an open field in the early days that Kim kept cattle in. The main office block was the only building on the property. Our year end Christmas parties were an event looked forward to by staff and customers alike.

Well those are some of my early memories of Cato Ridge Electrical, memories of the foundation days.

Wesley Jones – Project Manager

As mentioned in the January edition, this year kicked off with a big bang. I trust everyone had a good holiday and are properly rested.

Back to work – We have crews scattered all over the place, working hard to keep to strict deadlines.

New projects in Island View are on track with Pieter at the wheel and the guys are giving it their all. We are closing off some of the old Island View projects one at a time. MJ had to pick up where Darrell left off so as you can imagine, he is a busy man.



ABI’s are coming to a close on the first phase from our side, with mostly punch items to complete. We had some fun and games here. Apart from traveling a lot, weekend work was inevitable. With the assistance from Gregg and his excellent team up in JHB, this work was done in no time. Even Koos got into the spirit of smiling like a boss!



WES 10 WES 11

Hlabisa and Catherine Booth genset installations are on the cards and we have to ensure everything runs smoothly. These places are located in remote areas which brings some challenges of its own but the view is great.

Let’s keep up the good work then 2016 will be a breeze!

A little bit of my CREC history

I can recall clearly sitting in the director’s boardroom, nervous as a lost soul, waiting for Mr Grobler to start my interview. With me being Afrikaans, he introduced himself and I immediately, big mistake, assumed he was Afrikaans as well. When I started talking Afrikaans he just gave me his renowned grin and proceeded in English. None the less, I was offered employment as an Artisan and my first working day was 2nd April 2012 at CREC.

I was allocated to Kevin at Assmang and spent the rest of the year there on tippler two project. Kevin pushed me, taught me the ins and outs and soon enough I realized there is potential to grow at CREC. My first site, unofficially was Picko in Cato Ridge, then officially Picko Machadodorp. From there I moved over to Standerton for the Noble project with Ingula pump station hot on its heels. I was made supervisor at this time with Mittal steel boiler house as my first supervisor job. I felt proud of what I accomplished in two years but even prouder of what I have learnt and thankful to CREC for giving me such great opportunities. We have been working all over since, ABI’s, Vopak, Natcos, Contactim just to name a few.

I got called in by Arn a couple of months back to inform me that I will be on probation for Manager. Wow! I was exited but scared at the same time. Since then I had to work even harder! Two weeks ago my 3 month probation was over and CREC made me manager.

Now, apart from my own story, which I felt I had to share to state the following about CREC:

CREC is a professional company, with educated people in control. They make an effort to educate their employees, regardless of their back ground. Potential is identified in each individual and then they make the effort of pushing the employees to reach their full potential.

Since we went into business rescue, which was a scary time for all of us, there were all sorts of rumours floating around about CREC’s future. None the less, every one pulled together as a team and just carried on smashing work and getting things done. It is still in the back of our minds but I think reassurance from the bosses made the difference.

The skill and execution of work is incomparable. Every job is tended to like a little baby, with only the best that is deemed well enough. This is a trait that you hardly find anymore. Every employee shares this with new employees, semi-skilled workers and assistants. The training centre ties in with skills; CREC takes time to educated people, not only theoretically but practically as well.

What goes hand in hand with excellent skills is equipment and tools. CREC doesn’t skimp on this. We have proper tools, vehicles and machinery. This is imperative to job execution.

The Commercial department through my eyes was always seen as pen pushers that give us more and more paperwork. When I started getting involved I noticed what every individual actually brings to the table and how important they are. These guys really have the dirty end of the stick.

We at CREC are very fortunate to have one of the most beautiful offices in the country, if not the world. Imagine going to a concrete jungle every day and looking into another brick building. I believe our office surroundings play an intricate part of who we are and what CREC is about. Perfection and tidiness. For the after hour relaxation, G-spot hits the spot right on.

I had the time of my life the past 4 years and I’m looking forward to 40 more, if CREC will allow me to. CREC is a family that works hard, go through good and tough times but always stand together.

Thank you for the opportunities.

To the future through the past!


Billy Batten – Marketing Manager

On the 1st of March I will have been at CREC for 11 years and CREC will be in existence for 30 years this year.

After being in the corporate world for over 36 years it was quite an experience joining a private medium sized company. One of the first things I noticed was the comaradie in the company, particularly in the pub after a hard day’s work. It reminded me of the old saying ‘work hard, play hard’.

Over the last 11 years I have seen the company as well as the gardens grow, experienced joy on receiving an order and a bit of sadness on losing an order, however you cannot win them all.

When I was responsible for marketing and business development I met many interesting people and got involved in many interesting projects ranging from switchboards, minisubs, generators, installations, overhead lines to name but a few, the saying ‘you are never too old to learn’ is very true! Business travel with Kim was another experience I will not forget, visiting Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, Gauteng, Free State, eastern Cape, Western Cape, South coast, North Coast etc. as well as factories in Morocco and South Korea. An experience all on its own.

Yes, the past 11 years I have had a lot of fun and laughs, good friends and new experiences Thanks to CREC and my colleagues.


Sean Kelly – Safety Manager

My Experience in Cato Ridge Electrical during its 30 years.

I have only had the privilege of working the last 13 years within Cato Ridge Electrical. I was employed as the Safety & Quality Control Officer and will base my experiences around my vocation.

In my humble beginnings with the Company, Management were very aware that Safety was important and they emphasised this to the staff so I thought it was being carried out on the work sites.

Well I set the ball rolling and updated all Safety Documentation as required by the OSHACT, put it in place and started visiting the sites. Well I could see I had my hands full; I would have to change the “Safety Culture” within the Company, the common phrase was “”Well I don’t need that stuff, I’ve been working like this for years”.

The company was medium size at this stage so it was very easy to get to know everyone personally very quickly and I was able to gain everyone’s trust & respect and the Safety Rules soon fell into place; yes some still took a chance here and there when I was not looking, a story comes to mind.

I was out on the road visiting sites, a new Cycad had been purchased and needed to be placed into the Garden. This was no normal cycad, it was huge, weighing at least a Ton or two, and was to be placed at the ramp to the G Spot (some will remember it well, the cycad I’m talking about). The TADANO Crane was used for the lift and the Operator deemed the lift to be at the limit of the Crane’s operation. KING PIN came up with a solution and made use of a second crane to stabilise the first.

I arrived back at the Office and could see the top of the crane operating above the other cycads in the garden, I walked up the path to see what was happening, the operator was first in the line of fire, what is happening here I barked? He stammered as he pointed to KING PIN and he told me. Well Red Faced and also stammering KING PIN tried to explain what he was doing. The 2nd in charge had made a hasty retreat to his Office. I had a look at KING PINS ingenuity, shook my head and said go ahead you only have one more foot to the lower the cycad.

Also in the early years we tried to educate the staff in practicing safe SEX as AID’s was running rampant in the local areas. We had Clinic’s come out and speak to the staff, it was also a culture change that staff would have to adopt.

We gave continuous “Tool Box” talks on the subject and started supplying Condom Dispensers at the Head Office & Sites. Josh one of the stalwarts being with the Company from the beginning used to call me Mr. Sean but after all these AID’s talks gave me the nickname “Mr Condom”.

We have seen a lot of staff members fall to this illness, they came forward for help and we recommended certain products to use and 90% of those that used these products improved and have led a healthier and longer life, we are happy that we have been able to help those that we have worked side by side with during our course of duty.

The Company has expanded dramatically since my employ, we have worked on many a big projects at different locations within the country and have also worked out of the country and overseas.

Even with the Company expanding over the years with an increasing Work Force exposing more staff on a more frequent basis to Occupational Hazards, we have managed to reduce the Disabling Injury Frequency Rate (DIRF) from 2.75 when I joined to 1.69 at present. This is due to the concerted effort put in by Management, the Supervisors and staff in working with the Safety Department to meet the Safety Requirements.

The Company has also received Safety Awards from various Projects we have worked on and have recently received an award from the ECA.

The Company set their Goals to improve the Safety Standards and has successfully done this over the last couple of years and if the trend can be maintained will reach higher accolades as they work their way toward the 50 year milestone in business.


Denise Vermaak – Safety Officer

Working at height remains one of the biggest causes of fatalities and major injuries.  Common cases include falls from ladders and through fragile surfaces.  ‘Work at height’ means work in any place where, if there were no precautions in place, a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury.

What do I have to do?

You must make sure work is properly planned, supervised and carried out by competent people with the skills, knowledge and experience to do the job.  You must use the right type of equipment for working at height.

Take a sensible approach when considering precautions.  Low-risk, relatively straight forward tasks will require less effort when it comes to planning and there may be some low-risk situations where common sense tells you in particular precautions are necessary.

Control Measures

First assess the risks.  Factors to weigh up include the height of the task, the duration and frequency, and the condition of the surface being worked on.

Before working at height work through these simple steps:

  • Avoid work at height where it’s reasonably practicable to do so. Where work at height cannot be easily avoided, prevent falls using either an existing place of work that is already safe or the right type of equipment.
  • Minimise the distance and consequences of a fall, by using the right type of equipment where the risk cannot be eliminated.

For each step, always consider measures that protect everyone at risk (collective protection) before measures that one protect the individual (personal protection).

Collective protection is equipment that does not require the person working at height to act for it to be effective.  Examples are permanent or temporary guardrails, scissor lifts and tower scaffolds.

Personal protection is equipment that does not require the person working at height to act for it to be effective.  An example is putting on a safety harness correctly and connecting it, with an energy absorbing lanyard, to a suitable anchor point.

 Do’s and don’ts of working at height


  • As much work as possible from the ground
  • Ensure workers can get safely to and from where they work at height
  • Ensure equipment is suitable, stable and strong enough for the job, maintained and check regularly.
  • Take precautions when working on or near fragile surfaces.
  • Provide protection from falling objects.
  • Consider emergency evacuation and rescue procedures.


  • Overload ladders – consider the equipment or materials workers are carrying before working at height. Check the pictogram or label on the ladder for information.
  • Overreach on ladders or stepladders.
  • Rest a ladder against weak upper surfaces, e.g. glazing or plastic gutters.
  • Use ladders or stepladders for strenuous or heavy tasks, only use them for light work of short duration (a maximum of 30 minutes at a time).
  • Let anyone who is not competent (who doesn’t have skills, knowledge and experience to do the job) work at height.


March Specials

4th March – Health Roll with Cottage Cheese, Ham & Tomato

11th March – Seafood Pasta

18th March – Lamb Shank & Mash

Our new menu is finally available!! Come in and have a look, maybe order something new to nibble on, or request it and we will happily email it to you J

Sadly due to the new sintax we have had to increase our liquor prices, although please bear in mind that this is something we haven’t done in a while..

We have been busy as usual with business picking up more and more every day. We are receiving amazing feedback from all of our customers!


We currently have a Klipdrift Raffle going for R20 a ticket – bottle of Klipdrift, earphones, t-shirts and other goodies. All proceeds will be going to our new fish tank which will hopefully be up and running before the end of the month.

Look out for a little Easter surprise from the bunny closer to the end of the month!!

The G-spot has been running since the company came into existence. In the beginning it was more of a private club catering only to the staff and a select few others.

In 1997 the G-Spot acquired its liquor licence and became open to the public. It has been running as such for the past 19 years.



It was 30 years ago that as a young, 18 year old girl, I matriculated from High School. It is also 30 years ago that Kim and Len came to do work on my parent’s farm. At that stage Kim was 26 years old, which in the eyes of an 18 year old was really “old”. As fate would have it 4 years later he introduced me to his older brother, Peter, and suddenly the age gap did not seem to matter. Well, a lot has happened in the past 30 years.

I remember attending my first Comrades Marathon, held at Cato Electrical where we sat among the mielies to watch the race.  Memories of Arn and Zoltan racing on the PW bike across the grassland where Kim’s cattle use to graze. Then there were many braais that we had while the same cattle use to come to the fence and watch us.

Now 30 years later the garden, through Kim’s vision, has really transformed from grassland to an award-winning garden.

For those of you who do not remember, here are some pictures of the before and afters:



GATE 4 ENTRANCE                                                BAR & ADMIN OFFICES
















ENTRANCE/FAC 2 GARDEN                                 GARDEN BEHIND SECURITY

Cheers to what the next 30 years will bring!

We would also like to remind all about our next Open Day on Sunday, 6th March from 9-2


Happy Gardening!!


Well done to Sam for hitting a HOLE IN ONE on the 16th hole at the Cato Ridge golf course on Saturday 27th February 2016!! I was quite surprised when I found out that Sam plays golf, and apparently she’s pretty good at it too, here’s our proof after all


Birthdays March – Happy Birthday to the following people in March:

01st – Taylea Petersen

08th – Ghamiet Aysen & Georgette Boddy

9th – Mara Petersen & Charl Jordaan

10th – Paula Wright

11th – Pieter Breytenbach

13th – Arether Mkhize

18th – Kevin Sievwright

24th – Sarah Petersen

27th – Zoltan Petersen


monthly news