Bongani Bongo tells parliament: 'I'm looking forward to proving my innocence'
Controversial ANC MP Bongani Bongo was back in parliament on Tuesday, days after being arrested by the Hawks and charged with corruption.
Bongo, who chairs the National Assembly’s portfolio committee on home affairs, did not shy away from the controversy in his opening remarks to a committee meeting to discuss strategies to resolve long queues at home affairs offices.
“I have to say this,” he began, “that those who watched closely their television on Thursday, I was called by the NDPP (national director of public prosecutions) to appear in court on Thursday on allegations of bribery.
“I co-operated with the process and I appeared, and to this extent welcomed the charges that were brought. And in line with the constitution and the rule of law, I submitted to the process that I was subjected to.
“I am looking forward to and assure the nation that I will go to court and prove my innocence. Whatever the outcomes of the court will be binding to me and my conscience. I think those would be the welcoming remarks to this meeting,” he said.
DA MP Joe McGluwa responded by reminding those present that his party had “strongly appealed for you not to be elected as the chairperson” earlier this year. McGluwa said, however, that the DA believed in the rule of law and it should take its course.
He thanked Bongo for taking the committee into his confidence by speaking about what had transpired.
“We take note of the announcement by the ANC that defended you and said they will not act. It is for the party and their right to do so. We want to wish you well so that we can hear the truth in this serious matter,” McGluwa said.
ANC MP Mosa Chabane reiterated the ANC’s stance that Bongo was innocent until proven guilty.
“We confide on the centrality of the constitution of the republic that you remain innocent until proven otherwise. We agree with your party that has pronounced on the status of a member. We remain confident on your leadership of the committee,” said Chabane.
He suggested that by accepting the process of the rule of law, Bongo and his party were showing they were disciplined.