Vincent Smith to step aside from three parliamentary committees pending ethics investigation
ANC MP Vincent Smith will step aside as chair of the three parliamentary committees he chairs, pending the outcome of an ethics committee investigation into allegations that he received monthly payments from controversial facilities management group, Bosasa.
Smith asked the ANC caucus in parliament if he could step aside after City Press reported that he had received payments of at least R670,000 over the past three years and accepted security installations at his home from Bosasa. The matter was reported to parliament’s ethics committee by DA chief whip John Steenhuisen.
The ANC in parliament met Smith last Tuesday and he confirmed that he had entered into an agreement for "a personal loan with Mr A Agrizzi [former Bosasa boss]." Smith said the loan was processed in two separate payments: an amount of R220,000 in 2015; and R395,000 in 2016. He said he had paid for the security installation himself.
ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu said in a statement on Thursday that the party’s political committee welcomes Smith’s request and has agreed to allow him to step aside until the case against him is finalised.
Smith has been replaced as chair of the portfolio committee on justice and correctional services by MP Madipoane Mothapo, who takes up the post in an acting capacity. MP Nthabiseng Khunou will act in Smith’s role as chair of the standing committee on the auditor-general; and MP Stanford Maila will take up Smith’s post as acting co-chair of the committee on constitutional review, looking into the contentious matter of expropriation of land without compensation.
Last week, Smith welcomed the investigation, saying he was in "total support of being held accountable ... 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 its earliest convenience in the interest of being held accountable by my own organisation."
Smith could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday.