Top DA leader in BCM dies

Buffalo City Metro proportional representative (PR) councillor and DA caucus leader Jan Smit has died. Smit, 61, died in his sleep early yesterday morning, DA councillor Sue Bentley said.

Jan Smit

BCM council speaker Alfred Mtsi said news of Smit’s death was “shocking”. “It’s a great loss for BCM as he was one of the most experienced councillors in BCM and the worst part is that he was serving in one of the most important committees in council, the [municipal public accounts committee]. It is really sad,” Mtsi said.

Last month the DA appointed Vaughn Holmes as its acting caucus chairman in the council while Smit had taken sick leave after suffering two heart attacks and admitted to hospital a number of times.

“Councillor Smit had a series of heart attacks at the end of May and was in hospital for most of June,” Bentley said. “Even this week he was admitted again, and then was discharged [Monday] lunchtime.”

Smit, who grew up on a farm in Burgersdorp, worked for the party in the Bhisho legislature. He later worked as the party regional administrator for the BCM caucus from 2000 to 2008. Smit served in the BCM council as a PR councillor since 2008 as both the DA caucus chief whip and chairman.

“In council he was a valuable member of the municipal public accounts committee and was well liked and respected by his colleagues from all political parties,” Bentley said.

Another DA councillor Terence Fritz described Smit as a colleague who did not take mediocre work. “He was very strict but also soft, we will surely miss him,” said Fritz.

The DA said memorial service arrangements will be communicated in due course. — mamelag@dispatch.co.za

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