/ 21 April 2013

ANC says it won’t suspend John Block

Northern Cape ANC leader John Block.
Northern Cape ANC leader John Block.

This is despite an amendment to the party’s constitution which says that members who are criminally charged must be suspended until the conclusion of their court case.

Block is facing several counts of fraud and corruption relating to the Intaka and Trifecta corruption cases. In the case of Trifecta, Block shares the dock along with ANC MP Yolanda Botha, who is also the ANC's Northern Cape provincial treasurer, and Northern Cape social development minister Alvin Botes. Botes is also the deputy provincial secretary of the party in the province.

At a briefing on Friday, ANC Northern Cape provincial secretary Zamani Saul said the provincial executive committee (PEC) had decided that the constitutional amendment – adopted at the party’s 53rd national conference in Manguang – could not be applied retrospectively.

In March, the ANC also announced the establishment of an integrity commission which has the powers to deal with members accused of corruption.

Saul said that while the PEC welcomed the establishment of this committee, it was of the view that the commission would not run a parallel judicial process to the courts. It would therefore not affect the removal of Block, Botes and Botha.

"Comrades John Block, Alvin Botes and Yolanda Botha have long expressed their willingness to subject themselves to any organisational processes that also include the integrity committee. The PEC welcomes the constitutional amendment rule 25.70. This rule prescribes that if ANC a member is criminally charged he or she must be temporally suspend until the court hearing is concluded.

“The PEC is of the view that this rule does not apply retrospectively and therefore does not include the three instances as they predate the 53rd national conference,” Saul said.

Saul also announced that former National Party member and current Northern Cape minister for environmental affairs Sylvia Lucas would be inaugurated as the province’s next premier on April 30.