Cape Town - Axed former MEC of Community Safety Albert Fritz has finally broken his silence over allegations of sexual harassment and the investigation around it.
In a statement, Fritz first detailed how he was suspended and said the investigation was not objective and fair.
On Tuesday Premier Alan Winde announced that he was removing Fritz from his cabinet after following the finalisation of the independent investigation to test the veracity of several allegations that were made against him, which led to his suspension last month.
Fritz has also resigned as a member of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament.
“Firstly, I denied all the allegations on the basis that the alleged misconduct simply did not take place.
“Despite being promised an objective and fair investigation, my legal representatives were not present during the questioning of the complainants nor was I ever provided with a copy of their respective affidavits on which the premier based his findings,” he said.
The allegations against Fritz are sexual misconduct, alcohol abuse and grooming, which relates to the creation of circumstances that enabled sexual misconduct.
Fritz on the other hand said he was expected to provide detailed exculpatory statements, without seeing first-hand what the allegations actually were and the extent thereof.
“This is tantamount to me being guilty and having to prove my innocence without the courtesy of a complete charge sheet,” he said.
He added that Winde was placed in possession of a one-sided, untested version that to this day he, Fritz, had not been able to access and defend.
Premier Winde maintained that the investigation was fair and that Fritz was provided with an opportunity to respond to the allegations.
“Before doing so, he was provided with a summary of the allegations and a set of general questions arising from the investigation. Mr Fritz provided full responses to the allegations against him and answered all questions,” Winde said.
Fritz, however had this to say: “It is a matter of fact that Adv Williams only consulted the complainants to the exclusion of other witnesses present during the times of the alleged misconduct, at my insistence. These other witnesses were only approached at my request.”
Fritz said in order to combat the “irrational, unfair and one sided investigation”, he on numerous occasions requested that his legal representatives be afforded the opportunity to question the complainants, as he “suspected that a prima facie view would be formed in the inner Premier’s sanctum based on an inadequate investigation”.
He said he could not understand how the Premier could reach a prima facie view in the comfort of his sanctum while relying simply on an investigator’s interpretation of “unquestioned, unchallenged and selective reports made anonymously”.
“I am however under no illusion, Premier Winde made this decision long before today. This is evidenced by the very nature of his previous communications,” Fritz said.
Fritz said he requested Winde to provide him with Williams’ final report by close of business on Tuesday, but the Premier declined. He cried foul that the accusers had been permitted to hide behind the shield of anonymity and “the wholly inadequate investigation while my name has been publicly besmirched.”
“I am presently engaging my legal counsel regarding taking Adv. Williams’ final report on review,” he said, adding that the process “falls hopelessly short of the transparent process promised by the Premier.”
Fritz closed by saying it was absolutely clear that his ordeal over the past two months was the consequence of political orchestration in order to assassinate his character and ensure his departure from political and executive office.
“This repugnant agenda seeks to attain power at all cost without consideration of the effects it has on real people. I can only hope that my colleagues within the organisation will not face the same anonymous and protected political smears moving forward and that those known to be at the heart of this repulsive agenda will be dealt with before there is no organisation to speak of anymore,” he said.
The DA accepted his resignation.