I feel like El Presidente - Block

2010-11-14 19:32

Johannesburg - Explosive email communication ­between John Block and Uruguayan-born tycoon Gaston Savoi could nail the Northern Cape ANC chairperson.

The emails, submitted by the State in Block’s bail application to the Kimberley Magistrate's Court last week, show how the politician saw himself as “El Presidente” at the centre of an empire of power and wealth, and how he actively worked to open new markets for Intaka Investment to sell water purifiers to municipalities in the province.

A 15-page statement, written by PricewaterhouseCoopers director Trevor White, forms part of the State’s key evidence against Block and his co-accused.

White tells how the correspondence between Block and Savoi from June 2005 to February 2006 proves that they worked together to sell Wataka water purifiers – with a price tag of R2.6m each – throughout the province. Savoi owns Intaka.

In an email dated February 2006, Block boasted of his influence at a local municipality: “I am still on the pulse of the Upington Municipality. I will have feedback by next week. I feel like El Presidente when he commands his people. Patria o muerte! Venceremos! (Motherland or death! We shall overcome!)”

Contact details

In another email, Block offered Savoi contact details of various Northern Cape municipalities and mayors who could be approached for Wataka sales.

In another animated email of February 17 2006, Block wrote: “The blessings of my birthday are indeed paying off. The younger I get, the more Watakas we seem to be getting. I need a birthday every month.”

White said the emails implied that Wataka sales were going well. According to invoices that White examined, Block’s Chisane Investments received consulting fees and commission from Intaka for the marketing of Watakas.

Block, Savoi and Danile Madyo, the former head of the province’s health department, are among 11 people facing charges including corruption, money laundering, fraud and racketeering ­relating to irregularly awarded tenders estimated at R112m.

The tenders were for water-purification and oxygen-generating plants sold at inflated prices to state hospitals in the Northern Cape by Intaka Holdings, of which Block and Savoi are directors.

The State opposed bail for Block and Savoi, arguing that the Uruguayan, as a wealthy global businessman and traveller, was a flight risk and that Block’s political influence could result in witnesses being intimidated.


White also revealed that a conversation with Intaka’s financial director in May had showed that the firm had sold 71 Watakas to the Angolan government for R300m.

Block and Savoi were granted bail of R100 000 each and the case was postponed to March 18 next year.

On Friday, the Asset Forfeiture Unit attached five houses, 18 vehicles and business interests belonging to Block, Madyo, Daniel Gabarone, Hamed Shabi, Faima Shahzad and Sanjey Mitha.

Savoi and others were recently ­arrested in KwaZulu-Natal for a similar scam where the provincial health department bought purifiers at inflated prices.

The chief executive of KwaZulu-Natal development bank Ithala, Sipho Shabalala, was among those arrested.

  • devils_advo - 2010-11-14 21:10

    Where is Flawed Shivambu now... Mouth shut tight....

  • Pepsy - 2010-11-14 21:15

    Block supporters must open their eyes, ears and minds before going to toyi toyi at court. Maybe the so called supporters are doing all this for gov jobs and promotions. ANC MAAK NAAR.

  • Sad Day for S.Africa - 2010-11-15 00:32

    “The blessings of my birthday are indeed paying off." - It was a disservice to South Africa, the day you were born.

  • nonduplume - 2010-11-15 06:56

    Let's hope that the State have the balls to follow thru. I smell a plea bargain coming!

  • John - 2010-11-15 08:39

    Is there NO END to the corruption!?!?!? I am willing to BET he is going to get off, and most probably get re-deployed when the ANC thinks their supporters have forgotten. I am also convinced the demonstrators are paid to be there.

  • KyleAssassin - 2010-11-15 08:42

    Should we be surprised - this is just the tip - ANC is rotten to the core!

  • CHAINFIRE - 2010-11-15 11:34

    Soos hulle sê "'n Vis vrot van die kop af ondertoe" An esteemed member of the XhosaNostra!!!Where is Jelly Baby and Flawed Shivambu ?? with some response??? One thing about the XhosaNostra they stick together as a tight bunch of thieves. Innocent until proven guilty and even then NOTHING will happen .. We already hear noises about been proven guilty .... wait for it...."by a credible court" WTF??

  • BT - 2010-11-15 11:38

    Where are Kolbe, MalcolmX and Polio Donkey now! I guess this is all in the name of "freedom". If this corruption does not leave a sour taste in your mouth, then you are either braindead or "on the train yourselves". I suspect a combination of both!

  • AllHoliday - 2010-11-15 13:59

    It make me sick to my stomack. It is the one corruption story after another. When will the masses open their eyes? These people do not care for anybody except themselves!!

  • Mark - 2011-06-11 04:55

    The ANC and all their crooks are cleaning out this country sooner or later there would be nothing left and the people will revolt,and the black people will be back under a non apartheid white rule and we will have a clean democratic state

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