190210. Pinky Phosa at the red carpet before the opening of the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature in Nelspruit. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Johannesburg - The Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency's (MTPA) CEO has refused to accept his suspension and is back at work, Beeld reported on Thursday.

“Pinky Phosa (MEC for economic development, environmental affairs and tourism) told me in a letter this morning (Wednesday) that the board cannot do this. I am the executive head and I must return to work,” Jacques Modipane was quoted as saying.

“According to the law I have a choice and I say no.”

Acting MTPA board chairwoman Clara Ndlovu removed Modipane from his post last Thursday after about 40 rhino horns were stolen from the organisation's safe. News agency Agence France-Presse reported the horns could be worth up to US16-million (around R170m).

According to Modipane the MTPA board is gunning for him after he fired several high-ranking employees in a bid to root out corruption.

MTPA spokesman Kholofelo Nkambule said no arrests had been made in connection with the rhino horn theft. - Sapa