Premier's support of Block absurd - DA

2012-02-06 22:22
Bloemfontein - Northern Cape premier Hazel Jenkins' open support in court of fraud-accused ANC leader John Block was absurd, the Democratic Alliance said on Monday.

DA provincial whip Allen Grootboom said Jenkins' demonstration of support for Block, as the premier, did not auger well with the respect citizens should have for her high office.

Grootboom was commenting on Jenkins "front row" support for Block and several other former officials who appeared in court on fraud charges on Thursday, last week.

Spokesperson for Jenkins, Mafu Davids, said she attended the court proceedings both as a private citizen and a comrade.

"She exercised her democratic right in attending the trial."

Block, former Sol Plaatje mayor Patrick Lenyibi, municipal manager Frank Mashilo and chief financial officer Nandipha Madiba face charges of fraud, corruption and contravening the Municipal Finance Management Act.

The charges relate to alleged irregularities in the acquisition of a portable water purification unit by the Sol Plaatje municipality for Ritchie, an area near Kimberley, in April 2011.

Facing the same charges were Intaka Holdings director Gaston Savoi and the company’s industrial director Fernando Praderi.

In a separate matter Block, Savoi and several others face alleged tender fraud and racketeering charges estimated at R112m.

The allegations relate to government departments purchasing water purification equipment at inflated prices in 2005 and 2006.

Both matters were postponed to 2013.

The DA said there was a possibility that a court might found Block guilty on the charges he faced and what "message" would Jenkins have send out.

"That she supports corruption?"

Grootboom said Jenkins was confused as to her role, responsibilities and loyalties and her presence at the court sent out a misguided message to the people on the street.

Davids said the DA should remember the legal principle of "innocent until proven guilty".

He said there was no wrongdoing on the part of Jenkins attending the trial and other court proceedings.

She did so openly and consciously… for this we offer no apology.”

Davids said the DA and "all like minded formations" should let the trial of Block run its course.

- SAPA
Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  john block  |  gaston savoi  |  hazel jenkins  |  kimberley  |  politics
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