Cape Town - Premier Alan Winde has appointed the MEC of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais, as the acting Community Safety MEC while Albert Fritz has been suspended from the post.
The premier said that Marais will ensure that the Department of Community Safety continues to respond to communities’ safety needs and to drive important safety priorities.
The decision comes after the sudden suspension of Fritz following "serious allegations" pertaining to his conduct.
Fritz’s suspension is linked to sexual assault allegations that were purportedly levelled against him by young employees.
“I know there have been many questions raised around the nature of the allegations which resulted in the suspension of MEC Fritz. It is always my preference to be open and transparent with residents of the province and the media,” Winde said.
“In this case, however, noting specific requests by the complainants for confidentiality, the seriousness of the allegations made and the rights of all parties to a fair and unprejudiced investigation into the veracity of the claims made, I may not do so at this stage.”
Winde assured the public that he was treating the matter with the seriousness it deserved and would provide further updates as soon as he was able to.
“Finally, I have noted many rumours and reports by individuals who wish to politicise this matter. I will not play politics with the wellbeing of people and would like to urge anyone who views this matter as a political football to show restraint, especially in consideration of the requests made by the complainants and the rights of all to a fair process,” Winde added.
The announcement of Fritz’s replacement also comes after his request to be excused as provincial DA leader until end of February was approved by the party.
"The PEC accepted this and the deputy leader MEC Tertuis Simmers will be acting leader for the time being," DA Western Cape chairperson Jaco Londt, said.
"We view these allegations in a very serious light and the investigation must be allowed to run its course unhindered."