John Block. Picture: DAILY DISPATCH
John Block. Picture: DAILY DISPATCH

Former ANC Northern Cape leader and premier John Block will finally face time in jail, after the Constitutional Court dismissed his application for leave to appeal against his conviction and sentence for corruption and money laundering.

Block is the first prominent ANC politician who will go to jail, after being convicted and sentenced to 15 years in jail by the high court in Kimberley in 2016. 

In August, the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed the appeals by Block and businessperson Christo Scholtz, while the apex court has taken the same route.

In an order dated November 19, the court said it concluded that the pair’s separate applications “should be dismissed as it bears no prospects of success”. 

The charges arose from lease agreements from May 2006 to August 2008 between various state entities and departments in the Northern Cape and members of what became known as the Trifecta group of companies

Scholtz‚ a businessperson from Pretoria who was engaged in the private equity business‚ came into contact with Sarel Breda‚ with whom he identified business prospects in the Northern Cape.

The high court in Kimberley held that Block‚ then a senior politician in the province‚ had corruptly used his influence to ensure that Breda and his companies obtained some of the leases. They were concluded with the state without the necessary statutory protocols and procedures being followed.

Block‚ in return‚ was paid substantial gratifications‚ including two sums of R228‚000 and R500‚000.

Phaladi Shuping, spokesperson for the NPA in the Northern Cape and in the Free State said it was very pleased with the court’s decision, as the prosecuting authority was of the view that Block and Scholtz had a case to answer for.

He said the registrar in the high court would now have to complete the detention warrants and make contact with all the relevant parties.

He said it could take anywhere between two and five days for the matter to be processed and for the pair to be jailed.

Shuping said the NPA had received backlash from some people saying that it did not have the will to prosecute high ranking officials.

“We think this will send a message that it does not matter who you are, as long as you are on the wrong side of the law, the NPA would definitely prosecute you,” Shuping said.

The ANC in the Northern Cape “noted” Block’s dismissed appeal.

“Comrade JB has contributed immensely to the ANC in the province and to the advancement of the national democratic revolution,” deputy provincial secretary Maruping Lekwene said.

He added that the ANC in the province would like to reiterate that “we respect the outcome of the courts, and know too that comrade John respects this decision”.