NELSPRUIT – The CEO of Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA), Mr Jacques Modipane, reacted on the theft of rhino horns that were in the safekeeping of the MTPA.
No less than 112 pieces of rhino horns with a total weight of 80,135kg were stolen.
Security personnel on site discovered the theft at around 05:30 on Monday morning.
The stolen pieces were mainly from dehorning operations that were conducted. They were kept in the MTPA storage for registration purposes, record keeping and to later move them to another secure location where a bulk of stock is kept.
Some of the pieces kept on the MTPA premises were micro chipped, DNA sampled and photographed according to the National Norms and Standards (dated 10 April 2012 No 53248), while others were still being processed.
A case of burglary and theft has been opened with the police and a full investigation is under way.
The thieves entered the site through an office window. A strong room was cut open in the office, the door broken and access was gained to the main strong room where the pieces were kept.
According to Modipane the MTPA perimeter is well secured with controlled access and 24 hour security personnel is on guard with regular patrol intervals of the premises.
He said that they are working closely with SAPS to ensure that arrests are made and will continue to look at all possible leads both internally and externally to ensure that the criminals are apprehended.
“As MTPA we take this matter seriously and want to indicate that we will leave no stone unturned until this matter is resolved,” he concluded.