Municipality warned before art theft - DA

2012-11-12 17:07

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.

  • mshiniboys - 2012-11-12 17:17

    I wouldnt steal a painting because I can not differentiate between a cheap and expensive one.Inside job.

      louis.langenhoven - 2012-11-12 17:27

      that your only reason?

      moriri.mosweu - 2012-11-12 17:35

      Johan Welmans,"I have alerted the Tshwane metro about the lack of commitment towards this institution for a long time" I will put him at the top of the suspect list. He knew they were going to be stolen? vang hom

      hendrik.verwoerd.94 - 2012-11-12 17:38


      mshiniboys - 2012-11-12 17:41

      Louis ofcourse...why else I naturaly get visited by a lot of people so I cant hang stolen stuff on my walls as well.

      ahenriquesfernandes - 2012-11-12 17:41

      They had a list and buyers already.

      squeegee.pilot - 2012-11-12 18:11

      Hahaha. The cameras broke on Thursday. What a joke. Inside job. Will turn out to be either staff or security...

      mc.segal.5 - 2012-11-12 18:21

      Probably just switched it need to break it....

  • Mandy Casey - 2012-11-12 17:24

    Sitting in a private collection now. The kingping could of at least hired better help. Only fools leave 12 million laying on the sidewalk.

      sandra.j.rennie - 2012-11-13 11:52

      Mandy The Idiot didn't know who Irma Stern was ! So that painting to him was perhaps not the nicest of the lot and too big, so he left it lying on the pavement. Irma must be turning over in her grave and so might the two Malays. I mean for heaven's sake these two guys were used to hanging on a wall not thrown around like garbage !

  • kala.bafazi - 2012-11-12 17:31

    Clearly the "comrades" are not into the security business. If they were they would have been "awarded" a tender to provide security.

      SharonE - 2012-11-12 18:32

      The only time the ANC is concerned with art is when it has Jacob on it. - 2012-11-12 18:53

      sharon, ouch

      dave.elmore.5 - 2012-11-12 20:35 over...10/10

  • frans.vanderpoll - 2012-11-12 17:35

    Oh come on - these people were obviously informed about the faulty cameras!

      Erna - 2012-11-12 17:52

      Or were responsible for it not working. Too much of a coincidence!

      sandra.j.rennie - 2012-11-13 11:54

      Take a closer look at the security guards. They are always in on the action. Security Companies employ the biggest thieves around and never check their non existent records !

  • daniel.rossouw1 - 2012-11-12 17:42

    Those paintings will end up on some government officials wall. Its like when Goring stole paintings in the 40's for himself.

      patrick.mampane - 2012-11-12 18:33

      His name was Goering.

      neil.lovegrove - 2012-11-12 19:05

      or at Nkandala!!!!

      mshiniboys - 2012-11-12 19:28

      I can imagine that already...with a very tight security surounding them.

  • matete.k.seshwene - 2012-11-12 17:46

    Talk to the cANCer in their language, put a tender on security for the paintings.

  • jaysonpaul.beckwith - 2012-11-12 17:50

    How convenient that the cameras weren't working. If they can't see that this was a inside job,,,then I don't know.

  • evanknowles - 2012-11-12 18:09

    On that note, is Nkandla getting an art gallery?

      mc.segal.5 - 2012-11-12 18:25

      What the hell would nkandla do with an art gallery pleeeze man?

      boksom.bende.9 - 2012-11-12 18:32

      LOL, my thoughts exactly. Perhaps Zumaville is getting a bit of a interior upgrade.....

      p.borchard - 2012-11-13 08:36

      mc.segal - what zuma wants, zuma gets. Underground bunker, clinic, VIP housing for his blood diamond chommies, art gallery to show off.....

  • chris.jikijela.1 - 2012-11-12 18:10

    ANC(the cat) and arts worth millions(the milk) at the same place...what did you expect?

  • Gatvol Griet - 2012-11-12 18:22

    Stolen on order... Zuma's not shopping at McDonald's for his pieces...ha ha ha

  • niel.phillips.7 - 2012-11-12 19:00

    it would have been a priority to the council if there was cash around.....they are too lazy to steal the art and convert that into cash

  • niel.phillips.7 - 2012-11-12 19:01

    will now be on the walls of Nkandla

  • gaeleen - 2012-11-12 19:09

    Good old D.A. pointing out faults.they are so self righteous

      dewaldmontgomery - 2012-11-12 19:41

      Good golly. Am I reading this right? You DON'T want faults pointed out? Let's rephrase: You don't care if the A.N.C. gets away with EVERYTHING, and you don't mind PAYING for their mistakes, at all? I hope I got you wrong.

      frankflower - 2012-11-12 20:09

      O, shut up you moron!

      frankflower - 2012-11-12 20:11

      Sorry, meant to say that Gaeleen is the moron.

  • Christo Zikie - 2012-11-12 19:37

    why the paintings got missing after the D.A warning

  • theMichaelHawthorne - 2012-11-12 19:48

    DA 2 : ANC 0

  • Adil Smit - 2012-11-12 19:58

    Publish a anonymous tip-off number and offer a generous reward for finding the paintings again - someone will talk. And this SCREAMS inside job and a wealthy client.

      beverly.young3 - 2012-11-12 20:25

      FOLLOW THE MONEY......eish.....check up on staff and see if they are suddenly wealthy....

  • eugene.muller.7 - 2012-11-12 20:27

    "CCTV not working unfortunate... " i would call it damn suspicious. nevermind...carry on.

  • Montagnes.Bleues - 2012-11-12 21:13

    Look through most of those Broad Backed Black Entitled Embezzlers R75-R500million houses along Waterkloof Ridge, where the Mboweni's and Gunguluza's and other EXTREME ultra fast rich now perch!

  • penny.stone.589 - 2012-11-12 23:48

    Bet the thieves are in trouble with their buyer, leaving a R12 million Erma Stern 'cos it wouldn't fit in the car and delivering a R45 thousand Pierneef. Bet somebody got a swift klap across his head. Silly billies LOL. Seriously though, such a loss for all South Africans. Hope they catch these boogers and their boss soon.

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