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ANC wants answers from Premier Alan Winde as Albert Fritz sexual misconduct probe drags on

Fritz was suspended by Winde late last month after sexual misconduct allegations were levelled against him. File picture: Sam Clark

Fritz was suspended by Winde late last month after sexual misconduct allegations were levelled against him. File picture: Sam Clark

Published Feb 25, 2022

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Cape Town - One month after the suspension of Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz, the ANC in the Western Cape is demanding an update from Premier Alan Winde on the progress of his investigation.

Fritz was suspended by Winde late last month after sexual misconduct allegations were levelled against him. Soon after his suspension four more Western Cape government officials involved in the scandal were also suspended.

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Advocate Jennifer Williams was appointed as the independent legal counsel to conduct an external investigation, which was ongoing.

Odette Cason, from the office of Premier Alan Winde, said Winde was due to meet with advocate Williams once her report was finalised.

“We expect this to occur soon and will communicate further once a report is made available to the premier,” Cason said.

She said Williams was in control of the process and the time needed for the completion of her investigation.

Cameron Dugmore, the leader of the provincial opposition (ANC), said it wanted to serve notice on the DA that it would not give up until the truth about Fritz’s alleged sexual misconduct was out.

“This is another example of the DA protecting their own and continuing with their cover-up of the Fritz matter instead of putting clean and good governance first. The DA stands for double standards,” Dugmore said.

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DA spokesperson on the premier and constitutional affairs, Lorraine Botha, said that during a meeting of the standing committee on the premier and constitutional affairs on Wednesday, the ANC ignored the facts and called for Winde to appear before it, despite already being aware that the Premier would be briefing the standing committees on community safety.

Botha said that at the beginning of the month, Reagen Allen, the community safety chairperson in the committee, wrote to the premier asking that he brief them on the processes that led to Fritz’s suspension once the independent investigation by Williams had been concluded.

Allen said that once the facts were established through the independent investigation, it would be critical to have the premier account for his decision regarding Fritz’s suspension.

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“However, without the facts, a briefing by the premier may lead to wild speculation that could cause more harm and trauma to those involved,” Allen said.

He said the well-being, dignity and safety of whistle-blowers was their greatest concern, and that avoiding secondary victimisation must remain the top priority of all involved.

Allen said that despite the conspiracy theories punted by opposition parties, there had never been any attempt at covering up the matter. Rather the DA believed in due process, the rule of law and being sensitive to the concerns and reputations of those involved.

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Good Party secretary-general Brett Herron said the DA and the premier must bring those allegations to a conclusion.

“The premier committed to a two-week investigation by an independent advocate. Although he uses the term investigation, this is obviously not a real investigation that will be able to make any findings either for or against Fritz,” Herron said.

He said the question then was what was the purpose of the “investigation” and how would it help the premier make a decision on Fritz’s future?

“Only a due process procedure can make a finding. The premier should make a decision based on the information he has,” he said.

Herron said that if he wanted a finding then he should refer the allegations to the police for investigation.

Police spokesperson Andrè Traut said “no criminal case has been registered regarding the matter”.

Botha said that as the newly elected chairperson for the standing committee on the premier and constitutional affairs, she would ensure that the legislature and its members were in the best position to hold the provincial government to account.

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Cape Argus

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