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John Block released on parole

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The Department of Correctional Services has confirmed the parole placement for former ANC Northern Cape leader John Block, effective from Friday.

Former ANC Northern Cape leader and MEC John Block. File picture: Soraya Crowie

THE DEPARTMENT of Correctional Services (DCS) has confirmed the parole placement for former ANC Northern Cape leader John Block, effective from Friday.

Block was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment for corruption and money laundering on December 6, 2016.

The department said the parole placement decision was taken by the Correctional Supervision and Parole Board (CSPB), following Section 73 of the Correctional Services Act.

Two weeks ago there were rumours that Block would be released. However, the DCS dismissed the rumours at the time.

The DCS said the Offender Rehabilitation Path played an important role when the inmate’s suitability for parole placement was being considered by the CSPB.

“Block was an active inmate, having participated in a number of correctional programmes, and went on to obtain a diploma in business management. Reports by the specialists are part of the material submitted to the CSPB as they provide details in terms of the inmate’s readiness for social reintegration,” said DCS spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo.

He said Block benefited from the special remission of sentences of 2019, 2020 and 2023, thus bringing forward his minimum detention period to September 13, 2023.

Nxumalo said this also took into consideration the special remission of sentence for meritorious service as per Section 80 of the Correctional Services Act.

“Block will complete the remainder of the sentence in the system of community corrections and will be subjected to supervision in compliance with parole conditions until his sentence expires on June 26, 2029,” said Nxumalo.

Meanwhile Block, a former MEC of Transport, Roads and Public Works in the Northern Cape, made a brief appearance before the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on October 9 with his co-accused, the former head of the department, Patience Mercia Mokhali, and Babereki Consulting Engineers CC and company director Tshegolekae Motaung.

The accused are facing several charges which include fraud, money laundering, corruption, and contravention of the Engineering Professions Act. The matter relates to the Kimberley mental health hospital case.

It is alleged that, in 2003, Babereki Consulting Engineers CC was fraudulently awarded a tender as a structural and civil engineer as well as a project manager within the mental hospital construction project.

It is also alleged that the accused, as the political head, and Mokhali appointed Babereki Consulting Engineers CC, whose director is Motaung, even though the company did not meet the requirements.

The amount involved is about R51 million.

At their appearance, Block, who is accused number two in this matter, indicated to the court that he would be applying for Legal Aid representation. Accused one, Mokhali, and Motaung informed the court that they would be represented by a new legal firm in future.

The matter was postponed to February 8, 2024, to allow Block, who was committed in custody at the Upington Correctional Centre at the time, to apply for legal aid.

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