John Block, co-accused businessman granted R50 000 bail

Former Northern Cape ANC chairperson John Block and his co-accused Christo Scholtz have been granted bail of R50 000 at the High Court in Kimberley on Monday, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said.

The two were supposed to hand themselves over to a correctional services facility in the province on Thursday to start their 15-year sentence for money laundering and corruption.

The Hawks, however, reserved their arrest until their bail application.

Northern Cape NPA spokesperson Phaladi Shuping told News24 that Block and Scholtz were granted bail of R50 000.

The State decided not to oppose bail, he said.

"They have to pay R50 000 each on top of the R150 000 bail they had each paid, which makes their bail R200 000," Shuping said.

He said they have until September 11 to file for notice for leave to appeal in the Constitutional Court.

"Unfortunately, we don't know how long the Constitutional Court will take to decide on the matter," he said.

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein dismissed their appeal against the sentence last Tuesday, but granted them leave to appeal to the Constitutional Court.

READ: Former ANC Northern Cape chair's appeal against 15-year sentence for corruption dismissed

They were sentenced in December 2016, after being tried and convicted in the Northern Cape Division of the High Court.

The charges against Block and Scholtz arose from a number of lease agreements concluded between May 2006 and August 2008 by various state entities and departments in the Northern Cape with members of what became known as the Trifecta group of companies.

Scholtz, a businessman from Pretoria in the private equity business, came into contact with Sarel Breda, with whom he identified business prospects in the province.

Their business model was to identify run-down buildings which could be renovated into offices and then leased to state entities.

A number of leases were concluded and make up the heart of the charges brought against them.

The court found that Block, who was a senior politician in the province, had used his influence to ensure that Breda and his companies obtained certain leases.

READ MORE: Hawks hold off on arrest of former Northern Cape ANC leader John Block

Payments of R228 000 and R500 000

These were concluded with the State without the necessary statutory protocols and procedures being followed.

Block was paid substantial gratifications, including two payments of R228 000 and R500 000.

Block, who resigned as party chairperson and finance MEC shortly after he was found guilty in October 2015, had appealed the ruling.

It was argued on behalf of Block that he could not be convicted of corruption, as he had received these sums after the contracts had been concluded. The SCA rejected this.

The SCA said there were no substantial and compelling circumstances that justified a sentence less than the 15 years prescribed by the legislature for this offence.

In Scholtz's case, the SCA found there were no special and compelling circumstances that justified the imposition of a sentence less than the prescribed minimum of 15 years' imprisonment.

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