Northern Cape - The DA has called for the suspension of John Block and Alvin Botes as MECs, after they appeared alongside MP Yolanda Botha, in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
Northern Cape DA leader, Andrew Louw, said on Wednesday that the fresh charges of money-laundering against Block and Botes must finally force Acting Premier Grizelda Cjiekella to suspend them from their positions as MECs.
“Cjiekella has so far failed to suspend Block from his position as MEC for Finance even though he already faces unrelated charges of fraud, racketeering and corruption in the Intaka case. A court has also found that Block has been mining salt with a fraudulent licence.”
Louw also said that it was now obvious that Block could no longer continue to run the Province’s finances.
“The Premier has no choice but to remove him from his post with immediate effect.”
Louw said the latest charges which related to government lease deals awarded to Trifecta, a company with close links to Block and Botes, were another damning indication that the ANC in the Northern Cape had totally lost its moral compass.
“The entire ANC top five in this Province now faces serious corruption charges or allegations. Despite this, the recent ANC congress in Upington resoundingly elected these people to lead the party.”
He added that the DA expected Cjiekella to rise above the fact that Block and Botes were her political seniors.
“The Premier must act to protect the integrity of the provincial government. It is in the public interest that our institutions are run by people we can trust with the taxpayers’ money,” Louw said.
“The current Premier must clean house by removing MECs Block and Botes immediately.”
Cope also called on Botes, Block and Botha to resign from their positions.
“What kind of example are they setting as elected provincial leaders of the ANC? All three of them have publicly and openly admitted to receiving money from Trifecta, with amounts ranging from R700 000 to R900 000,” said the party’s provincial leader, Fred Wyngaard.
He also pointed out that the Hawks had already seized their assets, which, he said, was an indication of guilt.
“There has to be very strong proof against you before the Hawks will take such a drastic step.”
He added that the accused were being implicated in very serious cases and could be sentenced to imprisonment upon conviction.
Wyngaard said that in terms of the Constitution, members of provincial legislatures could not use their positions or information they received to enrich themselves or another person irregularly.
“This constitutional requirement has been infringed. We therefore call, very seriously, that the honourable members must be honourable and must resign.”
He said he knew that the current “Barbie” (referring to Cjiekella) did not have the necessary leadership skills and would not act against her own comrades.
“We strongly warn all of those who are still engaging in corrupt activities and the execution of illegal political mandates that they will be unmasked and will face the full wrath of the law.”
He added that the party would not rest from exposing corruption wherever it happened. “It is our duty as an opposition party and it is a duty we take very seriously.”
Wyngaard added that it was also interesting to note how many senior government officials spent the entire morning at the court.
The Office of the Premier said on Wednesday that Block and Botes would not be asked to resign from the Provincial Executive Committee of the Northern Cape Legislature unless they have been proven guilty in court.
Cjiekella, instead on Wednesday thanked Block and Botes, as well as Botha, for subjecting themselves to the court process and showing due respect to the court, as law-abiding citizens.
Spokesman for the Premier’s Office, Monwabisi Nkompela, said that Cjiekella regarded the allegations brought against the two MECs in a very serious light and she would not allow people to “play ping-pong and cheap political games with a matter so serious”.
“The Acting Premier is of the view that as a government is guided by the Constitution, we should respect the legal processes and allow them to unfold uninterrupted.”
He added that there was no need to call for the resignation of the two MECs unless the court had arrived at a conclusion of proving them guilty.
“For now, we remain with a view that they are innocent until the court pronounces otherwise.”
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