The former provincial ANC chairperson and Member of the Executive Council, John Block has been called again by the Northern Cape High court to answer to the alleged fraud and corruption sentenced against him.
Block, who was regarded as the most powerful man in Northern Cape was found guilty of the charges of fraud and corruption laid against him in October 2015.
Along with Trifecta director, Andre Scholtz, Block’s case was related to the lease of buildings to the Northern Cape social development department on behalf of the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa). The department rented buildings owned by Trifecta in several towns, including Kimberley, Upington and Springbok.
It was proved that Block used his political influence to secure lease tenders for Trifecta at exorbitant prices and received kickbacks for his efforts from the company.
However, in his defence, Block said he was not employed by the State when the crimes were committed and that the money he received from Trifecta was salary he drew as a consultant.
On the other hand, Andre Scholtz who was also the ANC deputy treasurer and MEC for co-operative governance and traditional affairs, Alvin Botes, hand was charged with money laundering alongside but was acquitted.
Block resigned all his positions – as ANC provincial chairperosn, ANC MPL in the Northern Cape legislature as well as MEC for economic development – two days after the guilty verdict.
Further more, Scholtz’s company, Trifecta, was also accused of granting an unsecured loans to former ANC MP,Yolande Botha, which were never captured in the company’s books. Botha,who was also the head of department at the social development department when the crimes took place – died during the trial following a battle with skin cancer.
Block and Scholtz’s lawyers are expected to ask for non-custodial sentences as Block will apply to appeal his conviction following the sentencing.
Waiting for the hearing are Block and his co accused’s supporters who have been relentless in their support for them. Several provincial cabinet members, MPLs, civil servants including heads of departments as well as ANC officials, were in the public gallery for almost every day he was in court.
However, five days have therefore been set aside for sentencing procedures in the trial which has lasted more than three years. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has previously indicated that it would ask Judge Mathebe Phatshoane to impose a 15-year jail term on each of the accused.