ANC MP Vincent Smith. Picture: VATHISWA RUSELO
ANC MP Vincent Smith. Picture: VATHISWA RUSELO

Embattled veteran ANC MP Vincent Smith has asked to be allowed to step aside from chairing any parliamentary committee until the ethics committee concludes looking into allegations that he received monthly payments from controversial facilities management group Bosasa.

Smith was recently appointed to head parliament’s portfolio committee on justice. He is also co-chair of the constitutional review committee, looking into the contentious expropriation of land without compensation matter.

Bosasa is a security, property and facilities management company that does business with the state

City Press reported on Sunday that Smith had been paid "at least" R670,000 by Bosasa over the past three years and had accepted security installations at his home valued at R200,000. DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said he would report Smith to parliament’s ethics committee, as the company had secured more than R10m in contracts with the government, in the past.

In a statement on Tuesday after meeting ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu to discuss the allegations, Smith confirmed that he had entered into an agreement for "a personal loan with Mr A Agrizzi [former Bosasa boss], which is repayable by me."

Smith said the loan was processed in two separate payments: an amount of R220,000 in 2015 and R395,000 in 2016.

"The loan was for the university tuition fees of my daughter in year one (2015) and year two (2016). I deny any further assistance, financial or otherwise, including the installation of CCTV cameras at my home from him or any other person or company. The cameras that are at my home were paid for by myself," said Smith

"My sole directorship of Euro Blitz 48, a company through which the loan was processed, is fully declared in the register of members interest, and this has been the case since the acquisition of the company."

He added: "I am in total support of being held accountable and I therefore welcome any investigation into my personal loan transaction. I will fully participate in the parliamentary process led by the ethics committee; a process which I have no doubt will absolve me completely.

"I am also going to present myself to the ANC integrity commission at their earliest convenience in the interest of being held accountable by my own organisation. I have also made a request to the chief whip and leadership of the ANC caucus that I be allowed to step aside from chairing any parliamentary committee until the ethics committee process is finalised," Smith said.

Mthembu welcomed Smith’s decision, saying: "While we do not understand the motive behind those who put this story in the public domain, we can only suspect that their timing is inspired by the ANC’s position on the expropriation of land without compensation. In recent weeks, comrade Smith has been on national and international platforms articulating the ANC’s position on the expropriation of land without compensation."

phakathib@businesslive.co.za