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ANC approaches police over ‘sexual misconduct allegations’ against MEC Albert Fritz

The ANC wants to know if allegations against suspended Western Cape community safety MEC Albert Fritz amount to possible criminal conduct. File photo.
The ANC wants to know if allegations against suspended Western Cape community safety MEC Albert Fritz amount to possible criminal conduct. File photo.
Image: Philani Nombembe

Cameron Dugmore, the leader of the ANC in the Western Cape legislature, has written to the provincial police commissioner to find out if allegations against MEC Albert Fritz amount to possible criminal conduct.

Premier Alan Winde suspended the community safety MEC on Sunday. Winde, who has since appointed a lawyer to investigate the saga, is yet to reveal the nature of the allegations. However, media reports say they relate to sexual misconduct.

“As leader of the opposition in the Western Cape legislature, I am deeply concerned at the manner in which the allegations of misconduct against MEC Fritz have been handled by premier Winde,” Dugmore wrote to Lt-Gen Thembisile Patekile on Wednesday.

“Up until this evening, premier Winde has failed to even mention the nature of the alleged misconduct. Instead there is growing speculation in the media based on reports from ‘impeccable sources’ that the misconduct amounts to sexual harassment and/or sexual assault.

“The premier’s own department has now approached the state attorney to procure the services of an independent investigator to conduct an ‘external examination’. No terms of reference have been provided as far as I am aware.”

Dugmore said he had established that “up until this point no criminal charges have been laid against MEC Fritz”.

He said he had approached Patekile’s office “to launch an inquiry to investigate whether the allegations themselves amount to criminal conduct or not” and “to inform those who have lodged complaints to the premier about the manner in which the SAPS can provide both counselling and assurances of absolute confidentiality should they come forward”.

Dugmore added: “It would appear to me that it is an untenable situation that the premier is effectively presiding over an investigation of one of his own colleagues both in cabinet and his former acting provincial leader of his own party who faces allegations which may include criminal misconduct.  

“I am also concerned that the manner in which the premier has managed this matter might ultimately defeat the ends of justice.

“A member of the portfolio committee on community safety, MPL Mesuli Kama, has written to both the chairperson of the community safety portfolio committee, Regan Allen, as well as the speaker, Masizole Mnqasela, to request that the premier takes members of the legislature into confidence.

“Allen refused this request. The speaker refused to intervene and try to protect our oversight role. My interest is to ensure that the complainants receive the support that they need and are entitled to from the SAPS and that any potential criminal conduct is identified and acted upon.”

The NGO Sonke Gender Justice called on the DA to “expedite” the disciplinary process.

“Sonke Gender Justice is outraged by the latest allegations that another powerful man and politician is involved in a sexual harassment scandal,” it said in a statement.

“Those who have come forward to report sexual assault should be protected, and we demand that their jobs remain safe.

“Sonke is urging the DA to do the right thing and expedite the disciplinary process. Abuse of women's rights is unacceptable. Public officials are expected to be role models, upholding and protecting the country's constitution and human rights.”

TimesLIVE


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