Johannesburg - On Monday, former MEC of Transport, Roads, and Public Works in the Northern Cape, John Fikile Block (55), appeared in a Kimberley District Court for his formal bail application.
Block’s bail application arises from a 2003 matter involving Babereki Consulting Engineers CC (BCE), which is alleged to have been fraudulently awarded a tender as a structural and civil engineer, as well as a project manager within the mental health hospital construction project.
According to NPA regional spokesperson Mojalefa Senokoatsane, the accused, as the political head and the former HOD, Patience Mercia Mokhali, appointed BCE, whose director is Tshegolekae Motaung, even though the company did not meet the requirements. The actual amount involved is approximately R51 million.
The accused has been granted bail of R50 000 in this Schedule 5 matter, and in the interest of justice, the State did not oppose bail. However, Block was remanded in custody as he is currently serving 15 years of direct imprisonment at Upington Correctional Services relating to corruption and money laundering.
Block, who is accused number two in this matter, will be back in court, where he is expected to virtually join his co-accused, Patience Mercia Nokhwezi Mokhali and Tshegolekae Motaung, in the Kimberley District Court on Tuesday, August 10, 2023.
Block appeared physically in court and told the SABC that he was happy that his bail application was successful.
‘’We found no grounds as the NPA to oppose bail. Even though there are conditions that have been set. We must also remember that this applicant, although granted bail of R50 000, he is still in the Upington prison because he is currently serving a 15-year sentence,’’ Senokoatsane said.
In 2018, the Democratic Alliance celebrated after Block was sentenced to 15 years in prison relating to charges of corruption, fraud, and money laundering.
The party said justice had finally been served following the Constitutional Court’s dismissal of Block’s application for leave to appeal his 15-year jail sentence for corruption and money laundering.
At the time, DA leader Andrew Louw accused Block of being a frontrunner in the massive decline that took over in the Northern Cape provincial government.
‘’He created a closed crony society whereby he and his associates manipulated government business for their own personal gain. This was at the cost of service delivery and to the detriment of the economy. They did this without any consideration for the thousands of people living in the Northern Cape who are desperate for jobs and basic services to survive,’’ Louw said.