CAPE TOWN - Premier Alan Winde has finally revealed that there were six complainants who levelled sexual misconduct allegations against suspended MEC Albert Fritz and these varied in nature.
This was confirmed in a written reply to a parliamentary question posed by member of the standing committee on community safety Patronella Lekker.
Winde further disclosed that he had no prior knowledge of the allegations that were brought to his attention and “cannot speak on behalf of the members in my cabinet”.
Lekker had questioned the premier regarding the abrupt suspension announcement of Fritz on January 23, probing for details around the complaints received, who the complainants are, the budget allocated to the investigation by an independent investigator and if any of Winde’s cabinet colleagues were aware of the allegations before they were reported to the premier.
Winde would not confirm the budget allocated to the investigation, but said it was “nearing completion and will be forthcoming shortly” and that it would be paid for “from Vote 1 Department of the Premier”.
“The time frame for the investigation was left open ended to ensure that advocate (Jennifer) Williams is given sufficient time and space to conduct as thorough an investigation as possible… The investigation’s terms of reference mandated advocate Williams to undertake a fact-finding exercise aimed at determining the veracity of the allegations. The purpose of the investigation is to provide me with as complete a factual picture as possible to enable me to reach a rational decision in respect of the minister’s continued tenure on my executive council,” said Winde.
Lekker said the lack of transparency of the premier and provincial government on the matter of suspended MEC Fritz was a cause for serious concern.
“What are the premier and his MECs hiding? Is this high level of secrecy really to protect the victims or are they just hiding behind technicalities to protect the perpetrator?
“We will continue probing this matter until we get the full details. It is alleged that the sexual misconduct of suspended MEC Fritz has been ongoing since the fifth administration. In this regard, we are calling for the scope of the investigation to be expanded to include the cases that may have already happened during Fritz's tenure during the fifth administration… He must let us know how much of taxpayers' money has been used on this investigation,” said Lekker.
GOOD Party national organiser and member of Parliament Shaun August said: “I do respect that these matters should be dealt with in accordance with the law; however, the premier has a responsibility towards his administration and the people of the province for transparency, accountability and openness.
“The premier decided to respond to the written question in a very clinical and surgical way, which should give us the idea that he isn't really focused on the principles of honest administration, but playing politics to save face with something as serious as these harassment allegations against such a powerful and influential office bearer as the MEC for public safety,” said August.
Fritz declined to comment on the matter.
“We are waiting on the final investigation report on the matter. We are now entering the sixth week and there seems to still be no final report,” he said.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa previously confirmed that no criminal charges have yet been laid by any complainants against Fritz.