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Western Cape MEC Albert Fritz's power intimidated staff, says GBV activist, while ANC MPL calls for urgent intervention

Suspended community safety MEC Albert Fritz. Picture: Sam Clark/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Suspended community safety MEC Albert Fritz. Picture: Sam Clark/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Jan 25, 2022

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Cape Town – ANC Western Cape MPL Mesuli Kama has written to Speaker of the Western Cape Provincial Legislature Masizole Mnqasela to request that he intervene and instruct the community safety standing committee to probe the sexual assault allegations levelled against suspended community safety MEC Albert Fritz.

Kama, who also serves as the provincial party’s spokesperson on community safety, called on the committee’s chairperson Regan Allen to convene an urgent meeting, as well as summon Winde to explain the suspension of Fritz.

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He added that it would be important for the standing committee to know the details of the allegations against Fritz and when the Premier first became aware of them, among others.

Young employees who had worked in Fritz’s office had apparently come forward to shed light on the allegations which relate to sexual assault of his own staff which dates back to last year.

According to a media report, four more provincial government officials who were working alongside Fritz have been suspended in connection with the scandal.

Winde suspended Fritz with immediate effect on Sunday evening. Upon suspension, Winde never disclosed much detail pertaining to the investigation, but merely referred to it as “serious allegations”.

Winde further defended the decision not to disclose information as victims in the matter had requested confidentiality.

Fritz has since requested to be relieved of his duties as the DA’s provincial leader until the end of February and Winde appointed provincial cultural affairs and sport MEC Anroux Marais, as the acting MEC for community safety.

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Kama said the fact that the provincial government was tight-lipped about the allegations against Fritz, who also served as social development MEC, was proof of the facade of the DA’s fight against gender-based violence.

Gender-based violence activist advocate Brenda Madumise-Pajibo told Independent Media the handling of the matter proved abuse of power.

“These young people were intimidated because MEC Fritz is a powerful figure. If these allegations prove to be true, then he used his power to adjudicate those he worked with and it was easy for him to get away with it because he carries the power – he can demote individuals,” she said.

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Goodwood Community Policing CPF chairperson John Ross said he had always had a good working relationship with Fritz, but chose not to comment on the matter as charges had not been formally laid.

Bishop Lavis CPF chairperson Graham Lindhorst said it was shocking to hear of the allegations, as he would not have expected it, but suggested that the investigation run its course.

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