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“Sisulu, Boesak, locked out of prison at Ramaphosa’s instruction”

Lindiwe Sisulu: After this experience, I plan to write another piece to let people know that justice in this country does, in fact, favor the few who support the administration.

Dr. Allan Boesak, a legend of the struggle and human rights activist, has reacted angrily to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s alleged “instruction” to Upington prison staff to bar him and Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu from visiting her relative John Fikile Block, 54.

The ANC’s former Northern Cape chairperson is Block. He served on the Northern Cape provincial government’s executive council (MEC), which is responsible for finances, economic development, and tourism. In December 2016, Block received a 15-year prison term after the Kimberley High Court found him guilty of money laundering, according to IOL.

On Tuesday, Sisulu made an attempt to see him in private, along with human rights advocate Reverend Boesak.

According to Sisulu, she has a proud, well-established, and well-documented history of defending the human rights of all South Africans, particularly those who are being persecuted by the criminal justice system.

READ MORE: DA proposes three retired judges for Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala investigation

Sisulu and Boesak’s detention at the second gate, however, caused a scene. They were informed that minister visits to prisoners were not permitted in Correctional Services facilities.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Sisulu explained that when she wrote her opinion piece, which sparked a heated debate, she was writing about the experience she had while her father, Walter Sisulu, was behind bars. The injustices she had written about in her letter had now also been experienced by her firsthand.

While the ANC National Executive member and presidential candidate chose a diplomatic response when asked if she believed she was blocked for political reasons or not, Boesak was direct and stated that the humiliation was well-planned by the Ramaphosa office.

According to Boesak, the prison guards were not being naive and were undoubtedly following orders from the highest office.

Boesak claimed that he knew that Block had declined requests from Ramaphosa and the current chairperson of the ANC in the Northern Cape to visit him.

Because Block had accepted a visit from Sisulu, in Boesak’s opinion, those who were rejected by Block felt threatened. In December’s elective conference, she will be running for the top ANC position.

This was unmistakably a political act and has a lot to do with the upcoming conference where the person seated next to me (Sisulu) would be running for the position.

It was actually me, not Sisulu, who accused Ramaphosa of this, according to Boesak, who knew that the president had attempted to visit Block but had been turned down.

He claimed that while it was customary for him to come to pray for Block, he never anticipated that, unlike during apartheid, he would be stopped under a democratic government.

Sisulu took a diplomatic tack, claiming that she was unsure of the exact culprit but that she had a sneaking suspicion that something evil was at play.

The reasons prison officials gave her, according to the minister, incensed her.

Mcebisi Skwatsha was among the ministers who paid Block a visit. Block gradually grows on me as a relative. Our clan, the Xhamelas, is the same as yours.

“I find it peculiar because I requested permission for the visit on Monday. Weirdly, the second gate was where we were stopped. Prior to going through gate 1, they could have stopped us, Sisulu said.

Block and I both had our rights violated. This is the same offense that inspired me to write my opinion piece in which I questioned Mzansi about whether they had received justice.

“After this experience, I plan to write another piece to let people know that justice in this country does, in fact, favor the few who support the administration.”

Sisulu claimed that although he had been granted parole, it had been mysteriously revoked and that strangely, people who had been convicted before him—mostly foreigners—had been granted parole.

Singabakho Nxumalo, a spokesman for Correctional Services, stated that no member of the public—not even the minister—should be barred from visiting inmates. He claimed that it was explained to him that Block did not meet the requirements for parole.

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