Members’ interests: Cope wants premier to act against John Block

2013-07-14 06:00

Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas has to deal with the alleged failure of Finance MEC John Block to declare his interests as required, if she is to be taken seriously, the Congress of the People (Cope) has said.

On June 28, the Northern Cape High Court issued an order that assets belonging to Block be seized.

The first asset referred to in the order is property in Upington that has been run as a guesthouse by Block since 2007.

The second asset is shares in Trifecta Resources and Exploration, which has been held by Block in his personal capacity since 2006.

But these assets have apparently not been disclosed in the register of members’ interests.

In a letter to the registrar of member’s interests, Cope says it wants an investigation into these allegations.

It would raise the issue at Parliament and is prepared to approach the Public Protector and, if necessary, “the highest courts”.

Cope’s Pakes Dikgetsi added: “Block is found wanting ... (this) must be dealt with by Premier Sylvia Lucas if she is to be taken seriously.”

The opposition wants Lucas to axe Block and Alvin Botes, who face fraud and corruption charges, from her provincial executive.

Attempts to contact Lucas and Block were unsuccessful.

In an interview with City Press in May, Lucas said: “There is no current issue warranting action against them. We can’t act retrospectively.”

ANC secretary Zamani Saul said the party was unfazed by this latest “attack on its senior leaders by Cope”.

“We stand by our leaders and still have full confidence in them. We are guided by the principle of innocence until proven otherwise.”

Block’s spokesperson, Lesego Letebele, said they were aware of the allegations and were busy studying the contents of the letter to the registrar of members’ interests. “We will fully respond in due course,” he added.

Mpho Masina, spokesperson of the legislature, confirmed receipt of the letter. “We will respond soon,” she said.

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