ANC rallies around MP Vincent Smith after controversial Bosasa payments

The ANC is rallying around senior MP Vincent Smith after it emerged that he received money from controversial security and facilities company Bosasa.

News24 reported over the weekend that Smith received cash and benefits to the tune of R870 000 from Bosasa in 2015 and 2016 through Angelo Agrizzi, then chief operations officer at Bosasa.

At the time, Smith was a former chairperson of the parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Correctional Services that investigated Bosasa's involvement in alleged corruption relating to state tenders.

Jackson Mthembu, the ANC's chief whip in Parliament, blamed the timing of the News24 report on the party's position on expropriation without compensation, and insinuated that Smith – who serves as chair of the Constitutional Review Committee looking at land reform – was being targeted.

Smith has admitted to Mthembu that he received payments from Agrizzi, but claims they were loans to fund his daughter’s tertiary education. He denies that he received any further benefits and has offered to step aside from his chairperson positions in Parliament until he has been cleared by the parliamentary ethics committee.

'Remains unshaken'

In a statement, Mthembu lauded Smith's "strong sense of integrity and political accountability" and said that the governing party's confidence in him "remains unshaken".

On Sunday, News24 reported that Smith was paid at least R670 000 by Bosasa over the past three years. In addition, Smith allegedly accepted the installation of electric fences and a high-end CCTV system worth roughly R200 000 at his home, and allegedly also received R100 000 in cash from Bosasa chief executive officer Gavin Watson every month.

News24 has verified two payments, totalling R671 000, to a company of which Smith is the sole director, Euro Blitz 48, in July 2015 and August 2016 - one a cash deposit by a Bosasa employee and the other an EFT by an attorney from funds held in a trust account for Bosasa Operations.

Documents show that, on July 14, 2015, Bosasa finance employee Jacques van Zyl deposited R276 667 cash into the FNB business account of Euro Blitz 48 at the Krugersdorp branch of the bank.

On August 5, 2016, Agrizzi instructed Johannesburg attorney Christo van Wyk via email to pay R395 076 into the same bank account from money held in trust for Bosasa Operations.