(File photo) John Block. Photo: Bongiwe Mchunu

Kimberley - ANC provincial chairman John Block and provincial treasurer Yolanda Botha have declined nominations to serve on the party’s national executive committee (NEC).

Block was the only provincial executive committee (PEC) candidate who was nominated to serve on the party’s NEC.

The ANC in the Province also nominated the Minster of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Tina Joemat-Pettersson, Minister of Energy and former Premier Dipuo Peters, former ANC Youth League secretary general Vuyiswa Tulelo and Bushy Maape from the John Taolo Gaetsewe region, onto the NEC ballot papers, as the voting proceeded on Wednesday.

ANC provincial spokeswoman, Gail Parker, said that candidates were not expected to provide reasons why they declined their nominations.

She pointed out that the corruption charges that Block and Botha were facing, had nothing to do with their decision not to serve as NEC members.

“The charges have yet to be tested in court and we will support both members all the way. We have full confidence in their capabilities and integrity.”

Block will appear in court next year for his alleged involvement in the purchasing of oxygen tanks and water purifiers in the Intaka scandal amounting to about R42 million.

Block and Botha were also charged for receiving benefits from the R100 million in government leases that were awarded to Trifecta Holdings for the Department of Social Development and the South African Social Services Agency (Sassa) in the Province.

Parker said that the PEC had taken a joint decision that the top five structures of the PEC, should not serve dual roles on the NEC.

“There is a lot of political work to do in the Province and Block will lead the 2014 election campaign next year. I am sure that the members took their political responsibilities into consideration when they declined.

“No one was instructed not to serve on the NEC. By virtue of their positions as NEC ex-officio members, it was decided that the provincial chairman and provincial secretary Zamani Saul, dedicate their time and energies in the Province.”

Parker indicated that while the branches had nominated Block and Botha, they were at liberty to make the final decision.

“If Block had to be deployed as an NEC member to another Province, he would not be able to fully dedicate himself to the political responsibilities of the Northern Cape,” Parker said.

“We don’t want Block, who is also an MEC for Finance and Tourism in the Province, to be stretched beyond his limits to an extent that he becomes inefficient. However, it would not be considered ill-discipline, if he had decided to accept his nomination.”

She pointed out that the Sol Plaatje Executive Mayor, Agnes Ntlhangula, who was a PEC member as well as NEC member of the ANC Women’s League, was fully capable of fulfiling her political duties.

“The position of the provincial chairman, however, carries greater responsibility,” Parker added.

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