Cape Town - Former ANC Northern Cape MEC of Transport, Roads and Public Works, John Block, has been arrested by the Hawks in connection with a R51 million tender for a mental health hospital.
Block, who is also the former chairperson of the Northern Cape ANC, made a brief appearance before the Upington Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
Hawks spokesperson Nomthandazo Mnisi said: “It is alleged that in 2003, Babereki Consulting Engineers CC was fraudulently awarded a contract as a structural civil engineer, as well as project manager, for a mental health hospital construction project.
“During his tenure as a political head, the accused and the former HOD Ms Patience Mercia Mokhali appointed Babereki Consulting Engineers CC whose director is Mr Tshegolekae Motaung, though the company did not meet the necessary requirements.
“The actual amount involved is approximately R51m.”
Block was previously convicted of corruption and handed an 15-year sentence in 2015 for using his political influence to solicit bribes while serving as a Northern Cape provincial official.
The acting provincial head of the Hawks in the Northern Cape, Brigadier Prince Mashimbye, welcomed the arrest.
“Criminality will be pursued irrespective of when it happened in order for justice to prevail,” he said.
DA Northern Cape provincial leader Harold McGluwa said the arrest set the stage for a commission of inquiry in the province.
“His latest arrest confirms what the DA suspected all along.
“His part in the lease scandal involving the Trifecta Company, which landed him with a 15-year jail sentence, is only the tip of the iceberg,” he said.
EFF Northern Cape provincial chairperson Shadrack Tlhaole called for more arrests to be made in the provincial government.
“There are so many corrupt activities that are happening in the Northern Cape under the ANC-led government’s watch.
“We are saying the ANC must not celebrate Block’s arrest, as nothing has been done in order to deal with the corrupt individuals within the provincial government.
“We are calling for all cases of corruption to be thoroughly investigated and those implicated to be brought to book,” he said.