Former ANC bigwig back in court for fraud

2016-01-25 05:27
John Block. (City Press)

John Block. (City Press) (Emile Hendricks)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kimberley - Once regarded as the most powerful man in the Northern Cape, former provincial ANC chairperson and MEC, John Block, returns to the Northern Cape High court in Kimberley on Monday for sentencing in his fraud and corruption trial starts.

Block, along with Trifecta director, Andre Scholtz, was found guilty in October last year on charges of fraud and corruption related to the lease of buildings to the Northern Cape social development department on behalf of the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa).

The department rented buildings owned by Trifecta in several towns, including Kimberley, Upington and Springbok.

The state proved Block used his political influence to secure lease tenders for Trifecta at exorbitant prices and received kickbacks for his efforts from the company.

Block’s defence was that he was not employed by the State when the crimes were committed. He also indicated that the money he received from Trifecta was salary he drew as a consultant.

Block resigned all his positions – as ANC provincial chairperosn, ANC MPL in the Northern Cape legislature as well as MEC for economic development – two days after the guilty verdict.

Five days set aside for sentencing

His co-accused – ANC deputy treasurer and MEC for co-operative governance and traditional affairs, Alvin Botes, charged with money laundering alongside Block – was acquitted.

Former ANC MP, Yolande Botha – who was the head of department at the social development department when the crimes took place – died during the trial following a battle with skin cancer. Scholtz’s company, Trifecta, was accused of granting unsecured loans to Botha, which were never captured in the company’s books.

Five days have been set aside for sentencing procedures in the trial that has lasted more than three years. The NPA has previously indicated that it would ask Judge Mathebe Phatshoane to impose a 15-year jail term on each of the accused.  

Block and Scholtz’s lawyers will ask for non-custodial sentences. It’s understood Block will apply to appeal his conviction following the sentencing.

Support for Block and his co-accused have been unwavering in the three year trial. Several provincial cabinet members, MPLs, civil servants including heads of departments as well as ANC officials, were in the public gallery for almost every day he was in court.

On some days, ANC supporters showed their support in their masses in the park opposite the High Court. The DA and later last year, the Economic Freedom Fighters, protested outside the court calling for a conclusion to the trail and at that stage, for Block to resign.

While the ANC in the province has said it still supported it former long-time leader, it’s unclear if members of the party will be at court tomorrow. 

Read more on:    anc  |  john block  |  kimberley  |  corruption  |  fraud

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.