Deal with corrupt officials: Northern Cape MEC John Block

Michael Mokoena

NORTHERN Cape MEC for Finance, Economic Affairs and Tourism, John Block – who is himself facing corruption and fraud charges – yesterday called on the provincial government to strongly deal with senior officials who are implicated in fraud or corrupt activities.

Addressing senior provincial government officials and senior managers of private firms during yesterday’s launch of Fraud Awareness Week in Kimberley, Block said “it is critical that the tone be set at the top, and in so doing, everyone will understand their responsibilities and know what to do when fraud is detected”.

Block has shrugged off calls from opposition parties and Cosatu for him to resign from the provincial cabinet pending the outcome of the court case against him.

He is facing charges of fraud, corruption, racketeering and money laundering in connection with his involvement with Uruguayan businessman Gaston Savoi, whose company, Intaka, sold medical equipment to the Northern Cape Health Department.

It is alleged he benefited in the fraudulent sale of water purifiers and oxygen tanks to the department.

Block also came under fire when, in 2009, the Northern Cape High Court found that his company, SA Soutwerke, was guilty of illegally mining salt.

Attempts to get an interview with Block after his address yesterday were unsuccessful.