Thapelo Lekabe
Digital Journalist
3 minute read
1 Mar 2022
10:38 am

Premier Alan Winde fires MEC Albert Fritz over sex pest claims

Thapelo Lekabe

Winde said the MEC was not “a fit and proper person” to hold any position in the provincial government.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde (L) and suspended Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz (R). Picture: Twitter/@AlbertFritz_

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has fired suspended Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz from the provincial Cabinet, effective immediately.

Winde made the announcement on Tuesday morning, after receiving the findings of an independent investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct made against Fritz.

Albert Fritz fired

The premier received the final report from Advocate Jennifer Williams, who conducted the external probe, on Sunday evening.

The report found that there was sufficient credibility in the allegations of sexual misconduct and alcohol abuse levelled against the MEC.

ALSO READ: Albert Fritz’s alleged victims were young DA members

It also found that there was sufficient evidence of Fritz creating an environment that is conducive to sexual harassment, or alternatively, taking advantage of young women sexually.

Winde said he informed Fritz of his decision to fire him on Tuesday, adding that the MEC was not “a fit and proper person” to hold any position in the provincial government.

“He has therefore been removed, in line with the powers vested in me by the Constitution,” Winde said in a statement.

“I am extremely angry at what appears to be verifiable incidences of serious sexual misconduct by him, in circumstances which in and of themselves were inappropriate.

“That it is by someone who has been tasked to protect our youth and our communities, is to me unfathomable. It is a shocking violation of his oath of office and the principles of our constitutional democracy.”

Fritz’s suspension

Winde suspended Fritz in January due to what he called “serious allegations” of misconduct at the time.

But it later emerged through sources and media reports that the allegations were of a sexual nature, after several women – most of them interns who worked in Fritz’s office and were employees of the Expanded Public Works Programme – came forward accusing him of sexual assault.

Winde appointed Western Cape Cultural Affairs and Sport MEC Anroux Marais to act in Fritz’s position. Fritz agreed to also step down as the Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) Western Cape leader, while four more provincial government officials, who worked with him, were suspended over the scandal.

Initial allegations

Winde previously said the initial allegations against Fritz were first brought to his attention by a third party informally on 23 November 2021.

He said he immediately requested affidavits from the persons directly involved and ensured that the complainants were “afforded due care and empathy and that no pressure was placed on them, noting the nature of their complaints.”

The premier did not rule out the possibility of laying criminal charges against the MEC once the investigation was done. The South African Police Service (Saps) in the Western Cape has opened an inquiry into sexual assault allegations while they wait for “key pertinent documentation” before a case could be registered.

Winde on Tuesday acknowledged the bravery of the complainants who came forward, saying “it is important that the manner in which these allegations are dealt with does not disempower them.”

“This is the starkest reminder of the pervasiveness of gender-based violence at all levels of our society, and that every single one of us – from president, to premier, from CEO, to father, mother, brother, sister or friend – have a role to play to end it,” he said.

NOW READ: Police open inquiry into sexual assault allegations against Albert Fritz