ANC's Danville Smith released on R10 000 bail on charges of fraud and car theft

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Danville Smith has stepped aside as he faces allegations of corruption. (Facebook)
Danville Smith has stepped aside as he faces allegations of corruption. (Facebook)
  • The ANC's Danville Smith was released on R10 000 bail.
  • Smith and two other people were arrested on Tuesday.
  • His legal representative told News24 they were hopeful of getting the charges dropped. 

An ANC Western Cape member of the provincial legislature, Danville Smith, was released on R10 000 bail after being arrested on Tuesday evening. 

Smith and two co-accused, aged 30 and 34, spent Tuesday night behind bars following their arrest during a joint police operation.

They made a brief appearance in the Vredendal Magistrate's Court on Thursday morning. 

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said Smith, Edwin Sepi, 34, from Witsands, Atlantis, and Malvern Chakoma, from Parow, are accused of pretending they had transferred R210 000 as payment for a vehicle advertised on Gumtree by Petrus Bosman, although no money was transferred to the complainant in order for the vehicle to be handed over.

"Smith was granted R10 000 bail, with conditions that he must surrender his passport to the investigating officer and inform the Clerk of the Court, not apply for any travel document, and report to Malmesbury police station every Monday and Friday between 08:00 and 20:00, starting Friday, for the duration of the case.

"He must inform the investigating officer should he want to leave the jurisdiction of the Western Cape and must seek the permission of the investigating officer, which must not be unreasonably withheld," he said. 

The case was postponed until 14 June 2022 for a Shona interpreter, and to determine addresses and status verification for both Sepi and Chakoma.

Smith faces charges of fraud and theft of a motor vehicle.

It is understood that police in Vredendal became aware of incidents of motor vehicle theft in the last six months, after the owners had advertised their vehicles on social media. 

READ | ANC Western Cape MPL and 2 more suspects spend night behind bars on car theft, fraud charges

The vehicles' registered owners were approached by a bogus buyer, who apparently made electronic payments and sent fraudulent bank notifications to the seller, which prompted the release of the vehicle.

Smith's legal representative, André Johnston, told News24 the charges against Smith were still being finalised. 

"They have not completed the charge sheet yet, but the charges relate to fraud and motor vehicle theft," he said. 

Johnston said they were hopeful the charges against Smith would be dropped. 

He said:

Listening to the facts, it doesn't make sense that he would get involved in a crime of this nature. Mr Smith has given a detailed statement to the police, explaining his involvement, and we are optimistic that once the NPA considers the statement in relation to the evidence in the docket that they would withdraw the charges and make him a witness in the matter.

Johnston said: "This is essentially a classic example of being at the wrong place at the wrong time." 

Last year, Smith voluntarily stepped aside, but remained a member of the provincial legislature.

The DA's chief whip in the legislature, Lorraine Botha, said the party had taken note of Smith's arrest. 

"These events highlight that the ANC is full of hot air when it comes to dealing with corruption and criminality within its ranks. The DA trusts that this matter will be dealt with speedily and without fear or favour," she said. 

In April last year, Smith appeared in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on corruption charges and was released on a warning.

Smith's court appearance came after a lengthy Hawks investigation into irregularities at the Cederberg municipality, where he served as speaker until 2016.

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