MEC Albert Fritz and his spokesperson, Sihle Ngobese, say they're lucky to be alive
Social Development MEC Albert Fritz says he will not allow his narrow brush with death in Nyanga on Saturday morning to deter him from visiting crime-infested areas.

Fritz, his spokesperson, Sihle Ngobese, and his two bodyguards were the targets of robbers armed with a gun and knife, who tried to take their cellphones. The gunman was subsequently shot dead in an exchange of gunfire with Fritz’s bodyguards, while the second robber was wounded and is in hospital.

“The point I want to make is that we will not stay away from areas such as Nyanga, Manenberg, Hanover Park and Gugulethu.

“In fact we will be going more and more into those areas, because we won’t allow criminals to dictate to us where we can and cannot work,” said Fritz.

Recalling the incident, which happened about 8.30am, Fritz said he was sitting in his car in front of the Shawco building where he was to be the key speaker at a youth event when the robbers approached his car.

“My window was down and I suddenly saw a person with a gun pointing (it) at my bodyguard,” said Fritz, who added that the robber armed with a knife had grabbed Ngobese’s cellphone and ran off with the gunman, whose gun jammed when he tried to shoot. The bodyguard had pulled his own gun and chased after the gunman when shots went off.

“What is ironical about yesterday is that we came to the area for a youth development programme, and that it was youths who tried to rob us and almost tried to kill us,” he added.

The incident highlighted what ordinary people in such areas have to go through daily, said Fritz, who added that on that same day four women had been robbed of their cellphones apparently by the same robbers, and a man stabbed to death for his cellphone.

“What it means to me is that it gave me the resolve to go and intensify our youth programmes, so that the youth can have better options and choices,” said Fritz.

Police spokesperson FC van Wyk confirmed the incident. Ipid had taken over the investigation, said Van Wyk.

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