Municipality warned before art theft - DA

2012-11-12 17:07
(Picture: Supplied)

(Picture: Supplied)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pretoria - The Tshwane metro had been repeatedly warned about the lack of adequate security measures at the Pretoria Art Museum, the Democratic Alliance claimed on Monday.

Reacting to Sunday's brazen robbery, in which five paintings estimated at around R15m were stolen, DA spokesperson Johan Welmans blamed the municipality.

"I have alerted the Tshwane metro about the lack of commitment towards this institution for a long time. The impression I got is that the Pretoria Art Museum is simply not a priority for the ANC-led Tshwane metro," he said.

"The DA has been concerned about the management of the museum for a long time. The reported value of R15m lost is relative if one considers that this fine art is irreplaceable," said Welmans.

However, Pieter de Necker, spokesperson for Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa, said the robbery was a wake up call for museums across the country.

"It is unfortunate the CCTV cameras were not working this weekend. A fault was reported on Thursday and has been fixed today," said de Necker.

"Security at museums should be improved. This incident calls for extra measures to be implemented," he said.

De Necker said the security concerns were not confined to the DA but were shared amongst many people in South Africa.

"It [security] is a concern for many museums across the country. The criminals walked in like art lovers and robbed the museum at gunpoint," he said.

The Pretoria Art Museum was manned by private security guards. On Sunday, three security officials were protecting the facility, said De Necker.

He said the municipality was providing counseling service for the "traumatised" personnel who endured the robbery.

The Beeld newspaper reported on Monday that the five paintings seized included an Irma Stern, worth R9m, and a Gerard Sekoto, worth R7m.

A sixth painting, Irma Stern's "Two Malay Musicians", valued at R12m, was dumped on the pavement outside the museum after the robbery, apparently because the criminals were unable to fit it into their getaway car, a silver Toyota Avanza.

They also made off with Maggie Laubser's Cat and Petunias, valued at R1m, JH Pierneef's Eland and Bird, valued at R45,000, and Hugo Naude's Hottentot Chief, worth R300 000.

According to museum staff, the thieves arrived with a "shopping list" of what they wanted, and demanded to be given specific paintings.

After holding staff member Dawood Khan at gunpoint, they took out their list, and demanded to know where the paintings were.

Museum curator Dirk Oegema said the robbery would be discussed at an urgent management meeting on Monday.

Art expert Stephen Welz said the theft was a tragedy, but that he was puzzled by it, as famous works of art were so well documented that it was nearly impossible to sell them, locally or abroad.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    da  |  kgosientso ramokgopa  |  art publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

UK expert: Boks ‘have KO game’
Ireland hold on to down Italy
As it happened: Ireland 16-9 Italy
All Blacks sympathise with England
Traffic Alerts

It is time to focus on your daily rhythm. Are you putting too much attention on future projects and neglecting the day to more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.