Seven state firearms were stolen when thieves broke into the Eastern Cape Provincial Traffic Department offices in Grahamstown and then set the Knight Street building alight on Saturday morning.
Six computers and a server, including mainframe server containing the department’s data and other content, like traffic fines, were destroyed in the fire.
Dispatch reliably learned that a safe which had seven firearms was discovered to have been broken into and the weapons were missing during an assessment of the damages conducted by the traffic chief.
Transport department provincial spokeswoman Khuselwa Rantjie said the incident is believed to have occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning after 2am.
Rantjie said: “We can also confirm that seven firearms were stolen from the departmental safes that are in the building and about 20 handgun safes were left open (ransacked).”
Rantjie said although the inferno would not have disastrous effects on the services offered at the building, it would cause great delays when it came to capturing fines and processing summonses.
Eastern Cape provincial police spokesman Captain Khaya Tonjeni said a case of arson and housebreaking had been opened at the Grahamstown police station.
Tonjeni said when the Grahamstown firefighters arrived at the scene at 3.20am, the building was engulfed in huge volcanic flames.
“The fire was at an advanced stage.”
Later, several members from ballistics and crime scene investigators (CSI) were called to the scene.
“Police are still combing for clues and no one has been arrested yet.”