Johannesburg - ANC MP Vincent Smith has again denied that payments he received from facilities management company Bosasa were the result of corrupt dealings and insists they were part of a loan agreement.
Smith said, in a statement on Tuesday, that he received a loan from Angelo Agrizzi, a former executive at Bosasa, which he is obliged to pay back.
The chairperson of Parliament’s constitutional review committee has stepped aside from chairing any committee until the investigation into claims of corrupt dealings is finalized.
He said he received the loan in two payments; R220 000 in 2015 and R395 000 in 2016. He said the loan was to pay for his daughter’s university fees.
Smith’s denials follow reports in the City Press Newspaper that he had was paid R670 000 by Bosasa over a three-year period. The paper also reported that Smith accepted the installation of R200 000 worth of electric fences and a high-end CCTV system at his home.
Smith was also allegedly paid R100 000 every month by Bosasa chief executive Gavin Watson.
The chairperson of Parliament’s constitutional review committee denied the claims and said he had personally paid for the CCTV installations at his home.
“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. 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,” said Smith.
He said he will support and take part in the Parliament’s investigation into the matter.
“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 organization,” said Smith.
The ANC has since come out in defense of Smith questioning the timing of the story and insinuating that it may be linked to the ANC’s position on land expropriation.
“Whilst 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.
"We are therefore convinced that he is a target of the organisations who are vehemently opposed to our people getting access to the land that they were dispossessed from by colonial and apartheid oppressors," said the party in a statement.
The party will discuss Smith’s offer to temporarily step-aside from chairing committees at a caucus meeting next week.