The ANC believes its MP Vincent Smith has become a target of organisations bent on preventing the expropriation of land without compensation.
Smith has stepped down from all parliamentary committees, including those hearing submissions on land reform, after a parliamentary investigation was launched into claims that he accepted a bribe of R800 000 from security and management company Bosasa.
Smith headed various committees in Parliament including the political party funding ad-hoc committee and played a prominent role in the committee investigating whether to amend the constitution to allow for expropriation of land without compensation.
The ANC has welcomed his decision to subject himself to an investigation by Parliament’s ethics committee and said it was “moved” by Smith’s “unshakeable, ethical and moral request” to the caucus to step aside as chairperson.
His prominent appearances during the public hearings on land expropriation without compensation across the country had now made him a target ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu said.
“We are therefore convinced that he is a target of those organisations who are vehemently opposed to our people getting access to land that they were dispossessed from them by colonial and apartheid oppressors,” Mthembu said.
News24 this month reported that Smith allegedly accepted cash donations and the installation of a high-tech closed circuit television system installation at his home from Bosasa.
The payments are alleged to have happened while Smith was chairperson of Parliament’s portfolio committee investigating government tenders awarded to Bosasa.
“We are, however, very inspired by the strong sense of integrity and political accountability displayed by comrade Smith,” Mthembu said.
In a statement shortly after reports of the donations, Smith confirmed entering into a “loan agreement” with former Bosasa chief executive Angelo Agrizzi but denied that the money was a bribe, or that the CCTV cameras were installed by Bosasa.