In the wake of Fred Boshoff’s death, Dave Martin has been appointed acting chief executive officer of Columbus Stainless. Boshoff, his wife and his brother-in-law died from fatal burns sustained while fighting a veld fire near their farm in Mpumalanga’s Witbank district.
Martin, who joined Columbus in 1978, said the message that Boshoff always delivered was: “we have the team at Columbus that can take on the best in the world”.
He added that as Columbus moves on, its personnel need to adhere to Fred’s strong guideline of: “One team, a disciplined approach to everything they tackle, quality products; high safety and environmental standards and ‘vasbyt.”
“The fact that we have been able to commission a totally integrated plant in a relatively short period of time shows the potential of the team that Fred built up at Columbus.
“He has certainly ensured that we have a solid base from which to take Columbus Stainless into the top league of stainless steel producers,” said Martin.
Born in Johannesburg in 1950, Boshoff matriculated from Hoërskool DF Malan in 1967 before completing a year of national service. He went on to graduate with an honours degree in metallurgy from Pretoria University in 1972.
Boshoff started his career in 1973 as project engineer at Iscor’s Newcastle works, eventually rising to the position of divisional manager. He was involved from the beginning in the R2-billion project to commission the then state-owned Iscor steel plant in Newcastle.
In 1977 he was recruited by Leslie Boyd, now chairman of Highveld Steel, to work on the planning, construction and cold commissioning of Highveld Steel and Vanadium’s Iron Plant 2, which he ran until being appointed to manage the Vantra division.
In 1985 he joined Ferrometals as general manager. Moved to Samancor in 1988, he was appointed general manager of its chrome division later that year. At the same time he started working on Columbus Stainless; he was appointed CEO of the development at its inception in 1989.
The 3,5-billion project, a joint venture between Samancor, Highveld Steel and the Industrial Development Corporation to bring Columbus’ stainless steel output up to 600 000 tons before the turn of the century, was commissioned by Boshoff in September 1995. As a result he became known as “Mr Stainless Steel”.
Boshoff and his wife are survived by their two sons, Jaco and Louw.