The correctional services department on Thursday has labelled EFF Leader Julius Malema as fake news spreader and dismissed claims that former ANC Northern Cape chair John Block has been released from jail on parole.
Despite a confident claim by Julius Malema that the former Northern Cape finance MEC had been released on parole, the department spokesperson Sibangakho Nxumalo described the speculation as fake.
Malema appeared on Newzroom Afrika on Thursday, where he was interviewed by Xoli Mngambi, in a wide-ranging interview.
In one exchange, the leader of the red berets said the former Northern Cape chairperson of the ANC had been released on parole as part of the almost 7 000 prisoners released to free up prisons as a means to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The exchange between Mngambi and Malema left the TV anchor stumped when Malema alleged Block had been released, with Mngambi swiftly moving on from the subject without disputing Malema’s assertion.
This is how the exchange played out on TV:
Mngambi: “I will remind you of a senior former leader of the ANC who is in jail right now. A whole leader of a party in the Northern Cape. John Block, he is in jail”.
Malema: “No, he’s not in jail, he is at home”.
Mngambi: “How do you know that?
Malema: “He was released with corona, duh”
I never laughed like this b4 the whole senior journalists doesn’t know that John Block is released ka parole bathong these people are a joke mus, @XoliMngambi how did you missed it pic.twitter.com/Cs9WmbQgIY
— 👑Rakgadi🌿Soldier👑 (@BlackCulture_HM) October 15, 2020
“The DCS has been inundated with inquiries over false news that offender John Block has been released. We want to categorically state that allegations of offender Block being placed on parole are devoid of any truth and must be dismissed,” said Nxumalo.
Block was convicted of fraud, corruption and money laundering in 2015 and sentenced to a 15-year jail term, but only started serving time in 2018 at the Upington prison after multiple unsuccessful appeals in the superior courts, including the Constitutional Court.
The speculation on his release emerged in May this year after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the release of about 19,000 qualifying parolees as part of measures to fight Covid-19 in jails by easing overcrowding.
Nxumalo, however, reiterated that Block would not be considered for early parole.
“He will only be considered for parole placement after serving the minimum required time,” he said.