Block resigns positions

2015-10-21 06:00
THE ANC provincial leader and MEC of Finance and Economic Affairs, John Block, resigned after being found guilty of  fraud, corruption and money laundering along with businessman Christo Scholtz. 
Emile Hendricks

THE ANC provincial leader and MEC of Finance and Economic Affairs, John Block, resigned after being found guilty of fraud, corruption and money laundering along with businessman Christo Scholtz. Photo: Emile Hendricks

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THE provincial chairperson of the ANC, member of the provincial legislature and member of the executive council, John Block, resigned after being found guilty of fraud, corruption and money laundering by the Northern Cape High Court on Wednesday (14/10).

According to the provincial executive council (PEC), Block voluntarily decided to step down from his three positions as expected by the ANC policy.

“He has voluntarily stepped down. He was not forced to do so. He has actually proved true to his word of two years ago, which is to step down when you are in this position,” emphasised the National Executive Committee (NEC) convenor in the Northern Cape, Mcebisi Skwatcha, during the media briefing.

The current deputy provincial chairperson, Kenny Mmoiemang, has already filled the position in a temporary capacity.

The PEC stated that the guilty verdict represented a mixed outcome for the ANC in the province, as the fellow accused deputy provincial secretary, Alvin Botes, was acquitted on all charges laid by the state against him and on which the provincial chairperson was found guilty.

Fellow accused, Trifecta Holdings chief executive Christo Scholtz, was equally found guilty and the two are expected to hear their fate in February 2016.

The ANC Youth League called a press briefing a day after Block’s conviction, where it pledged its support to Block in whatever steps he decided to take, whether or not he will appeal against the verdict.

According to Mmoiemang, it is only fair to appreciate Block’s decision that was made in the interest of the movement (ANC).

Block has already appeared before the integrity committee and instead of waiting for the outcome, he voluntarily stepped down.

He added that the ANC never doubted his innocence.

“We definitely embrace the findings of the judiciary and at the same time we also appreciate the fact that there are still avenues for him to take this process foward, informed by our conviction that another court and another judge might come to a different conclusion,” said Mmoiemeng.

The Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas is now expected to appoint two new MECs: one for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism and one for Education, following Grizelda Cjiekella-Lecholo’s death last month.

Mmoiemang on the other hand, is also facing charges of domestic violence and the premier highlighted that he will be dealt with accordingly if he is found guilty.

This was the second tme Block resigned as an MEC in the province. He resigned in 2003 when he was still the MEC of Public Works after being accused of mismanagement of public funds.

He was later found not guilty on the charges by the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court.

Andrew Louw, the DA leader in the province, welcomed Block’s resignation and said that it was long overdue.

“We said that Block must go and he did.

“We take note of the appointment of the current speaker of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature, Kenny Mmoeimang, to fill the vacancies that Block left.

“In his previous capacity as MEC for Co-Operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (CoGHSTA), Mmoeimang failed to address a number of crucial priorities and we trust that he will take his new role more seriously,” Louw added.

The Congress of the People (Cope) welcomed Block’s resignation and stated that it is clear that corruption is now hurting the ruling party where it hurts the most: at the polls.

“The situation became so perilous for the ruling party that it had to finally, though reluctantly, give short shrift to Block. It simply could not remain blasé about corruption any longer,” stated Dennis Bloem, the Cope spokesperson.

“Just as people who do crime must do time, those who do corruption must face the most severe career disruption and rejection. The weight of suspicion against Block was so enormous that the ruling party should have acted when it was still a whiff to retain some credibility.

“Block’s resignation is welcome even though it has come so late.”

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