South Africa: Free State Responds to Reports Relating to Painting

press release

Response to reports relating to the painting of the Free State Provincial Government

The Free State Provincial Government has been made aware of circulating media reports about a valuable painting which has become a subject of investigation.

The Free State Provincial Government (FSPG) wishes to express its sincere appreciation for the vigilance displayed by both officials of the Provincial Government as well as the art dealers; Strauss & Company (Pty) Ltd, to ensure that the disappearing of the valuable Pierneef painting was discovered, and the subsequent preservation thereof. The Free State Provincial Government is looking forward to regain possession of this valuable painting which has been an asset of the State for many years, and which is one of the paintings which was inherited from the pre-1994 Administration.

The FSPG is aware that there is an ongoing investigation by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation ("the Hawks"), pertaining to this matter. The Provincial Government shall cooperate fully with this investigation.

"It is our intention that, once safely returned, arrangements will be made for the painting in question to be displayed in a safe and secure environment for the public to appreciate this magnificent artwork" - Director General Kopung Ralikontsane said.

Issued by: Free State Provincial Government

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