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Advocate says she was threatened over investigation into Albert Fritz sexual misconduct claims

Former Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz. File picture: Western Cape Government website

Former Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz. File picture: Western Cape Government website

Published Mar 3, 2022

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Cape Town - The legislature’s committee on community safety grilled Premier Alan Winde, his team, and advocate Jennifer Williams, regarding the recent investigation and dismissal of the axed Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz.

Members of the committee called on Winde to release the full report of the investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by Fritz, who is also a former leading DA member.

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Fritz resigned from the party, after an investigation had found merit in the sexual misconduct allegations against him.

Winde decided to fire Fritz from the provincial executive, after he received a report from advocate Jennifer Williams, who had conducted an investigation to test the veracity of several allegations that were made against him, and which led to his suspension as MEC last month.

During the committee meeting on Wednesday, members said the report must be made public, without the names of the complainants.

Winde said: “This is not a court of law to determine what has happened in this case. That, I sincerely hope, is going to be the next stage in this process. I really do hope it would be what happens next.

“If I have learned one thing in the past few weeks, abused women are petrified of coming forward,” Winde said, stating that he would defend the victims to the utmost.

Williams disclosed that she received messages from members of “all different political parties and factions, also trying to intimidate me to back off and not to proceed with the investigation”.

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ANC community safety provincial spokesperson Mesuli Kama said the committee was shocked by Williams’ disclosure that she had been threatened and intimidated by members of the public to move away from the investigation.

Kama said the ANC condemned that illegal act and called on Williams to provide the committee with details of all the persons who had contacted her, so that it can take further action.

“Various concerns regarding the premier’s mishandling of the situation were raised by the members, including the lengthy period of time the premier took to act on the matter,” he said.

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Committee chairperson Reagen Allen said it was the prerogative of the premier to dismiss or appoint any member of his Cabinet.

He said it was evident, from his appearance before the standing committee on Wednesday, that he thoroughly applied his mind in ensuring that due process was followed in his decision to dismiss Fritz from office.

“We echo the sentiments of advocate Williams, that the investigation was premised on a victim-centred approach, one which specifically empowers and protects the integrity of the complainants, and respects their specific requests for confidentiality,” he said.

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