The African National Congress (ANC) is shocked by the arrest of Northern Cape minister of finance, economic development and tourism John Block, but believes he is innocent until proven guilty, the ruling party said on Friday.
“We would not like to speculate on the matter … As a law-abiding organisation, the ANC is of the view that the law should take its course,” spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said.
Block was among seven others arrested by the Hawks on alleged tender fraud related to the purchase of water purifiers and oxygen generators for the Kimberley Hospital.
It is part of an investigation into a R200-million corruption case that has already seen eight people arrested in KwaZulu-Natal.
Block and Gaston Savoi, owner of Intaka Holdings, were refused bail on Thursday. They will return with the other six others to the same court on November 9.
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) on Friday said Block’s arrest must be a demonstration of strict governance against corrupt high-ranking officials.
“It is the law of the land that a person be seen as innocent until proven guilty, yet it’s also important for corruption to be seen as a serious injustice against the people of South Africa who place their trust in their leaders who are not meant to abuse their powers for their own benefit,” Fedusa general secretary Dennis George said in a statement.
“Tender fraud is especially a huge problem in our country and we need to fight against this.”
The union said it supported the government in its objective to reduce and prevent crime. — Sapa