Jackson Mthembu. Picture: ALON SKUY
Jackson Mthembu. Picture: ALON SKUY

The ANC in parliament has suggested that its veteran MP Vincent Smith is being targeted because of the governing party’s position on expropriation of land without compensation.

Smith, who was recently appointed to head parliament’s portfolio committee on justice, is also co-chair of the constitutional review committee, which is holding public hearings in parliament on the contentious issue of expropriation without compensation. The ANC has made it clear it supports an amendment to the constitution that would make it clear how land could be expropriated without compensation.

City Press reported on Sunday that Smith had been paid "at least" R670,000 by facilities company 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 in the past secured more than R10m in government contracts.

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu, who held a meeting with Smith on Tuesday to discuss the allegations, indicated the party was behind him.

"Whilst we do not understand the motive behind those who put this story in the public domain, we can only suspect 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," he said.

Smith confirmed he had entered into an agreement for "a personal loan with Mr A Agrizzi (ex Bosasa boss)". The loan was for his daughter’s university fees and was processed in two separate payments: R220,000 in 2015 and R395,000 in 2016.

He denied Bosasa had installed CCTV cameras at his home, adding that he was in "support of being held accountable" and would "participate in the parliamentary process led by the ethics committee."

Smith asked to step aside from chairing any parliamentary committee until the ethics committee concludes looking into allegations against him.

Mthembu said while "we are moved by comrade Smith’s unshakeable, ethical and moral request to step aside … pending the conclusion of the ethics committee process, [I] will be presenting this request to the ANC caucus political committee … next Wednesday."

phakathib@businesslive.co.za