Cape Town - Speaker of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament (WCPP) Masizole Mnqasela has dismissed ANC Western Cape MPL Mesuli Kama’s request to intervene on the sexual allegations against suspended community safety MEC Albert Fritz.
Kama on Monday wrote to the provincial legislature speaker asking him to instruct the community safety standing committee to probe speculation which arose after four young employees who worked in Fritz’s office came forward to speak out on the MEC’s alleged actions.
As the provincial ANC’s spokesperson on community safety, Kama further called on the committee chairperson, Regan Allen, to convene an urgent meeting, as well as summon premier Alan Winde to explain the suspension of Fritz.
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.
According to a media report, four more provincial government officials who were working alongside Fritz have been suspended in connection with the scandal.
In a written reply to Kama’s request on Tuesday, Mnqasela emphasised that he cannot interfere in the workings of the committee.
He said that as the speaker of the WCPP, he will ensure that the institution conducts its oversight responsibility, and holds the provincial government to account through its structures and procedures, and ensures continuity of this “crucially important constitutional responsibility”.
Mnqasela added: “As Speaker, I cannot entertain appeals to interfere in the proceedings of our committees and have no power to call meetings of a standing committee. Regrettably, I am unable to accede to your request in this regard.”
ANC chief whip Pat Lekker said Mnqasela’s decision undermines the DA’s accountability. Lekker added the legislature is convinced the opposition has embarked on a cover-up that will keep the allegations against Fritz out of the public eye and away from oversight scrutiny for as long as possible.
“As far as we are concerned, the latest bid in closing ranks around what Premier Winde has called serious allegations against Fritz, is a letter from the speaker Masizole Mnqasela in which he informs our MPL Mesuli Kama that he cannot interfere in the workings of the Standing Committee on Community Safety, Cultural Affairs and Sport.
“In defending the right of the standing committee not to summon the premier, the speaker is doing the indefensible. He should have called on it to act on its mandate. He is undermining accountability, something that the DA claims to be a champion of.
“This is unacceptable. It exposes the DA’s double standards and strategy of covering up what Albert Fritz is alleged to have done. We have no option but to ask the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) to summon Premier Winde to give a full explanation under oath of what Fritz is alleged to have done, and how long he has known about the allegations,” Lekker said.
Lekker stressed that the truth needed to be revealed, or the NCOP would be the next resort.