Block granted R50 000 bail - NPA

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Johannesburg - Northern Cape ANC leader John Block and two other provincial ANC heavyweights were released on bail of R50,000 each after they appeared in court on Wednesday, the NPA said.

Block, the ANC's Northern Cape chairman and MEC for finance, economic development and tourism appeared in the Kimberley Magistrate's Court alongside social development MEC Alvin Botes, ANC MP Yolanda Botha, three officials from the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa), and one businessman.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesman Phaladi Shuping said the seven were arrested for fraud, corruption and money-laundering to the value of R49 million.

“Block, Botes, Botha and businessman Christo Scholtz were granted bail of R50,000 each,” he said.

“The three Sassa officials Rodney Saal, Calvin Rayland and Palesa Lebona were released on R5000 bail. The case was postponed to March 7.”

Hawks spokesman Captain Paul Ramaloko said the seven were arrested at their houses around Kimberley on Wednesday morning, in connection with crimes committed between May 2005 and December 2009.

Botes is the ANC's deputy secretary in the Northern Cape. Botha was elected provincial ANC treasurer in Upington earlier this year.

On October 29, the NPA asset forfeiture unit obtained an order to attach assets worth about R24 million belonging to Botha.

The unit successfully argued that Botha disregarded tender procedures while she was head of social development in the Northern Cape, and signed lease agreements that benefited a company called Trifecta Investment Holdings. In return, Trifecta apparently made renovations worth about R1.2 million to her house.

Scholtz is the director of Trifecta.

The leases were costing the government about R3 million a month, with some coming to an end only in 2017. Botha allegedly approved decisions that went against the bid adjudication committee's recommendations.

The leases are for buildings rented by the North Cape department of social development in Springbok, Kuruman, Douglas, and Kimberley. - Sapa


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