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Western Cape government spent R160k to probe Albert Fritz sexual misconduct saga

The Western Cape government paid R160k to probe sexual misconduct claims against Albert Fritz. Picture: file

The Western Cape government paid R160k to probe sexual misconduct claims against Albert Fritz. Picture: file

Published Mar 22, 2022

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Cape Town - Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has instituted a review of the province’s 11 year-old sexual harassment policy after more than R160 000 was spent to investigate sexual misconduct claims against axed Albert Fritz.

This was revealed in a written response to a question from the ANC’s Melusi Kama on the measures the premier was planning on actioning to prevent the recurrence of the abuse of women working in the provincial government.

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Last month, Fritz was fired as the MEC for Community Safety after a report by Advocate Jennifer Williams found that the allegations of sexual harassment against Fritz by four women over a four year period were substantiated.

The women levelled eight claims of sexual misconduct that ranged from inappropriate sexual comments, touches, kisses and sex that sometimes occurred on work trips.

Asked how much his department spent on the investigation, Winde said R161 460 was paid out from the Department of the Premier’s legal services programme.

Winde reiterated his stance that he would not make the full report available without consent from the complainants, witnesses or a court order.

Fritz recently revealed that he would no longer pursue a legal challenge to get access to the report as well.

Winde said he was committed to ensuring that sexual misconducted was eradicated in the workplace.

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“I have instructed that there be an end-to end review of the Western Cape’s sexual harassment policy, which was adopted in 2011, including how it is put into practice. We need to ensure the whole system is strengthened, taking into account the fact that this case happened, so that any loopholes are closed,” he said.

“This review should include external consultation with specialists in sexual misconduct matters so that we ensure that we have the best possible policy in South Africa.

“I am also taking steps to incorporate distinct and specific sexual harassment and GBV clauses in the Western Cape ministerial handbook. We believe that this would be a first for any executive handbook in South Africa, and I will advocate for these clauses to become part of the national ministerial handbook.”

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Winde is yet to announce a permanent replacement to this cabinet to take over the reins from Fritz.

Weekend Argus

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