AS more details emerge in MEC Albert Fritz’s alleged sex scandal, a former intern in his office Miché Solomon also known as Zephany Nurse says she is willing to testify.
Solomon was stolen from her cot at Groote Schuur Hospital in 1997. The truth only came out over 17 years later. During the high-profile kidnapping trial, Fritz was MEC for Social Development. He offered Solomon emotional support during the trial and a job as an intern in his office because she was interested in social work. His support was also mentioned in a book about her life story.
Solomon, who still goes by the name that was given to her by the woman who stole and raised her, in a Facebook post on Tuesday night said she said would testify if asked to do so.
“With regards to this post and a lot of questions and calls I have been receiving concerning MEC Albert Fritz. It's a sensitive matter,” read the post.
“I have also been receiving legal advice on this matter from my lawyer. I have decided not to make any statements to the media at this time. If there are legal proceedings and if I am asked to testify, then I will be willing to do so.”
Just days after news broke of Fritz’s suspension as MEC for community safety and stepping and stepping aside as DA provincial leader, more details surrounding the allegations levelled against him are emerging.
Premier Alan Winde spoke on Tuesday following multiple questions around the secretive stance the provincial government had adopted after his office confirmed Fritz’s immediate suspension.
Winde stated the matter was first brought to his attention by a third party two months ago but only managed to meet with the other victims less than two weeks ago to get their sworn affidavits.
Winde has since expressed his disappointment in the media for making direct enquiries of several officials in his government to ascertain the names of these complainants.
“The publication of their names, against their will, would be completely unacceptable, and the Western Cape Government will take whatever action necessary to ensure it is prevented,” he said.
“These complainants have brought these allegations to me under the strictest of confidence. To publish their names, against their will, will only add to the very serious stress and anxiety that they are feeling now, and possibly, deter others from coming forward in similar cases in future.”
Speaking to Weekend Argus, one of Fritz’s former employees said they too had been bombarded with queries.
“At the moment I am just letting the legal and healing process take its course. Its been a difficult time for me,” said the employee.
Reliable sources have revealed to Weekend Argus the allegations against Fritz date back as far as five years.
“There are six victims (thus far), all of them worked in his office. What happened was one of the girls got the courage to speak up about what happened to her to another female colleague, and when that colleague heard, she let the first complainant know the same happened to another colleague.
“From there the other four also came forward and handed in their affidavits to premier Winde. They decided to not press criminal charges.”
Winde also said although he was not in a position to lay criminal charges, he cannot discount that this would not happen.
“Should the investigation by this independent counsel result in advice indicating that it is necessary or appropriate for me to do so,” he said.
Four senior officials within Fritz’s office have also been placed on precautionary suspension.
Another insider in Fritz’s office told Weekend Argus the suspensions were not punitive but rather put in place to allow investigations to take place.
“Even if names were remotely mentioned, it is a serious allegation so we do understand that this is a step that needs to be taken,” said the official.
Weekend Argus tried reaching Fritz but the call was declined.
On Wednesday the ANC in the province called on Winde to permanently remove Fritz from the executive committee and committed to opening a criminal case.
“The ANC in the Western Cape will be approaching the police to open a case and call on the Provincial Commissioner of Police (General Thembisile Patekile) to ensure that this matter is given the necessary attention it deserves,” said the party’s Sifiso Mtsweni.
Community safety standing committee chairperson Reagan Allen has previously lashed out at the ANC, alleging that the party was turning the matter into a spectacle.
“The ANC’s opportunistic attempt to throw mud at the DA may, unintentionally, cause harm and distress for those involved,” he said.