Taaiboschdraai – John Block looting continues

Patricia O’Neill-Coutts

DA Provincial Spokesperson on Agriculture

The agriculture department’s silence on the status of the state owned game farm of Taaiboschdraai which, at last given update, was being “rented out” to none other than MEC of Economic Development, John Block, is highly questionable.

Repeated questions about the game farm fell on deaf ears during today’s annual report meeting at the legislature. The opposition’s questions regarding the use of the game farm were simply dismissed as political rhetoric, instead of being treated with the seriousness they deserve.

The only submission that the DA can make is that irregularities pertaining to the use of this game farm continue to exist.

In 2010, it emerged that Block was benefitting from the state owned game farm at no cost to himself. It later also came to light that the provincial government spent R5 million on putting up fencing and on renovations to the farm house.

Block is a public representative and may not draw such benefits from state owned property. Also, the rightful beneficiaries to this farm are struggling emerging farmers in the area between Hopetown and Petrusville, and not the already wealthy John Block.

It is disturbing that Block appears to have the blessing of provincial government to continue eliciting personal gain from state resources.

The DA believes that it is high time that the full extent of the Taaiboschdraai scandal is exposed. In 2011, we reported the matter to the Office of the Public Protector. We will now follow-up with this office to request the speedy finalization of the outcome of this very important investigation.

It is corruption like this, that robs the people of the Northern Cape of real opportunity!