by Andrew Louw – DA Northern Cape Premier Candidate
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Date: 28 November 2018
While John Block has spent the first night of his fifteen-year jail sentence behind bars, there are still too many others in government who walk free despite their involvement in corruption.
It is against this backdrop that the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Northern Cape is calling on Premier Sylvia Lucas to establish an inquiry into projects, departments and contracts that involved Block and his associates.
Block served in different roles as an MPL and as a MEC since 1994, coming into contact with all government portfolios, especially the Departments of Transport, Roads and Public Works and Economic Development. In this time, he was able to establish an intricate network of cronies with influence, who were able to manipulate government processes to their own benefit.
While we do not know the true extent of this web of corruption, we know that it runs far deeper than the Trifecta scandal, that has finally landed Block in jail:
Block was found guilty of forging a salt mining license. His partner in crime was none other than current MEC of Social Development, Gift Van Staden.
There are also allegations that Bock benefitted from his friendship and business links with Van Staden when he served as mayor of //Khara Hais Municipality in Upington, to land a leasehold deal for two prime municipal properties in as far back as 2003. According to reports, Block’s R160 000 debt on these two properties was cancelled five years later by the //Khara Hais municipal council after the council passed a motion exempting him from further rental payments.
It is common knowledge that Block was awarded the infamous state farm, Taaiboschdraai near Petrusville, at the expense of emerging farmers. The provincial agriculture department has consistently refused to accept responsibility for this, always referring it to their national counterparts.
Block’s “baby”, the Maloof Money Cup skateboarding competition is believed to have been riddled with corruption involving numerous stakeholders, including the Department of Economic Development’s CFO, Kuberin Packirasamy who is accused of receiving kickbacks.
Block was also embroiled in the Ocean Echo scandal that saw the construction of multi-million rand glass building for eventual occupation by the Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison, despite the exorbitant rental contract being forbidden by the Minister of Treasury, Pravin Gordhan.
These are just some of the many dodgy incidents that have John Block’s name on them. But they don’t just have his name on them, he had help. In this regard, many of these co-conspirators, including politicians and senior government officials, continue to hold positions of authority but they have not been brought to book. Instead, they are free to continue abusing state funds.
That is why the DA wishes to reiterate that Block’s imprisonment will not deter the looting.
While the DA hopes that a task team will be established to root out the rot that took hold of the Northern Cape government in the more than two decades under Block’s influence, we doubt this will happen.
This is because the failing ANC has declared its continued support for Block, even implying that they would welcome him back into party structures once his sentence is served.
Clearly, the failing ANC doesn’t consider corruption an impediment to service delivery.
Only change under a DA-led government, that publicly denounces corruption and will work hard to ensure that 100% of state money is spent on services instead of being diverted into the pockets of connected cadres, will save this province from self-serving criminals and the failing ANC.