Correctional Services says John Block is still behind bars.

Despite a confident claim by Julius Malema on Thursday that former Northern Cape finance MEC had been released on parole, the Department of Correctional Services has moved to denounce the EFF leader’s comments.

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”

Correctional Services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said the department had been inundated with queries after Malema made the claim on TV.

“He remains incarcerated in our facility and will only be considered for parole placement after serving the minimum required time”.

Recall that Block began his 15-year jail sentence in November 2018 after he had exhausted all legal avenues to keep himself out of jail after he was convicted of fraud, corruption and money laundering.

He was found to have received kickbacks after assisting businessman Christo Scholtz of Trifecta Holdings secure lucrative deals with the Northern Cape Provincial Government at inflated costs.