CAPE TOWN - Under-fire Western Cape Premier Alan Winde stuck to his guns when facing tough questions on Wednesday over the sexual misconduct allegations against the now-dismissed Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz, refusing to disclose the details of the probe and the budget spent on it.
Winde appeared before the standing committee on community safety, cultural affairs and sport to brief MPLs about the developments on the issue after he fired Fritz from his cabinet on Tuesday.
Advocate Jennifer Williams found in her report that there was “sufficient credibility” of sexual misconduct by Fritz despite him denying the allegations of sexual misconduct, alcohol abuse and grooming. The report said these related to the creation of circumstances which enabled sexual misconduct brought against him.
Fritz has indicated his intentions to challenge the report and said he was consulting his legal team.
Despite the earnest requests by the members of the standing committee for sight of the full report, Winde on Wednesday said the briefing was not the platform to divulge the details of the report which he described as having “salacious details”.
Winde further said the next process was to “get the matter to a court of law” and reiterated the confidentiality of the victims.
“This is not a court of law to determine what exactly happened. That, I sincerely hope, is going to be the next stage in this process. Gender-based violence (GBV) is a big issue in our country. If I have learnt one thing in the last few weeks - abused women are petrified of coming forward.
“If we have somebody sitting in this government, in a business somewhere or someone in society is watching this online saying ‘I’m being abused in this environment’ and Parliament wants all the salacious details, I’m never going to come forward… In the role that I play and what I have witnessed, I will defend the victims to the absolute end,” said Winde.
While he would not disclose how much was used from the public purse to conduct the probe, Winde said: “It could not have been cheap but it definitely was the right decision.”
ANC spokesperson on community safety Mesuli Kama said: “The ANC demands Premier Winde convenes an urgent meeting with the Western Cape police commissioner to hand over the report to assist with the criminal case that was opened by the ANC.”
Williams in her briefing said the full report would also jeopardise the privacy of the complainants even if the names were redacted from the full report.
“The report is still confidential in a large sense… at the outset the complainants expressed a fear of reprisals, reputational damage and job security… It would make a mockery of confidentiality (if the full report is divulged),” said Williams.