Cape Town - At least 12 complaints of sexual misconduct were recorded at the Department of Social Development during seven of the eight years axed Albert Fritz was in charge.
This was revealed in a written response to a question by the ANC’s Gladys Bakubaku-Vos to the current MEC for Social Development Sharna Fernandez on whether any complaints of sexual misconduct were reported to the department between 2012 and 2019.
Fritz was deployed to the portfolio from October 2011 until 2019 before he was moved to the Department of community Safety.
While the 12 complaints were reportedly not against Fritz, these revelations came out this week as the 62-year-old was fired from the Western Cape cabinet following numerous allegations that included sexual misconduct. Just hours after he was sacked, Fritz also resigned as the DA’s provincial leader as well as a member of the DA.
“None of these complaints relate to the person whose name has been furnished to me. One complaint was received against an official in the office of the named person, which was handed over to the Directorate: Employee Relations within the Department of the Premier who did a full investigation. The case was unable to proceed due to the unavailability of the complainant,” said Fernandez in her response.
Bakubaku-Vos told Weekend Argus the response showed that on average two cases of sexual misconduct were reported in the department annually, which was cause for concern.
“It is really concerning that one of the cases was against an official in the office of former MEC Fritz.
“This suggests that the wicked conduct of victimisation of young girls has been happening in Fritz’s department as early as 2012. We will push for more investigations into this practice of sexual violation of young females in the Western Cape government,” she said.
In firing Fritz on Tuesday morning, Premier Alan Winde said he was extremely angered by what appeared to be verifiable incidents of sexual misconduct.
Winde received Advocate Jennifer Williams’ final report from the investigation into the allegations levelled against Fritz. Williams found, after interviewing 18 witnesses on both sides, that there was sufficient credibility to the allegations of sexual misconduct, alcohol abuse and evidence that Fritz created an environment that was conducive to sexual harassment and taking advantage of young women sexually.
The DA’s provincial chairperson, Jaco Londt said the position of provincial leader will be filled at the next provincial council meeting in May.