Embattled former Western Cape Community Safety MEC, Albert Fritz has resigned as a member of the Democratic Alliance. Shortly before, Premier Alan Winde removed him from the provincial cabinet. The developments followed an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct levelled against Fritz.
Fritz was suspended in January and stepped aside as the Democratic Alliance (DA’s) interim provincial leader a day later, following complaints lodged with the premier.
Winde says an independent probe found that the allegations against Fritz, mostly from young women are credible.
“It sounds like a number of complainants came forward in the process of this investigation … alcohol would be used and then sexual misconduct would happen at the same time, young women specifically and of course, the mandate given to the minister was to be sure that our communities are safe and that really angers me. I’m hugely disappointed and I’m angry that this happened” says Winde.
Winde says the allegations were first made to him by a third, unaffected party, in November last year. He suspended Fritz after receiving affidavits from six complainants. It’s understood that some 18 people, including Fritz and his witnesses, were interviewed during the independent probe into the veracity of the allegations. Winde says he has encouraged the complainants to lay criminal charges as he cannot lay a charge on their behalf.
“The next stage obviously is that they need to lay criminal charges, also the advocate says there’s sufficient evidence for criminal charges to be laid. So, we met with them and that’s obviously their choice and they’ve gone away to think about that,” Winde added.
Opposition parties who have been calling for Fritz’s dismissal say they have been vindicated by the outcome of the report. The African National Congress (ANC)’s Sifiso Mtsweni has questioned how Fritz’s alleged misconduct could have gone unnoticed.
“We have long made this point that the premier was sitting on this matter since November 2021 and started acting after the complainants started coming forward. Premier Winde played a role of prosecutor judge and jury on this matter for weeks, accepting affidavits from victims and sitting on them in an attempt to manage the internal affairs of the DA,” says Sifiso Mtsweni.
Brett Herron of the Good Party says there’s more to this.
“He does not explain how Fritz misconduct goes for year without notice by the DA, let alone how the DA saw it fit to appoint Fritz as its interim provincial leader when the previous incumbent was exposed as liar.”
VIDEO: Western Cape Premier Alan Winde fires Albert Fritz following probe into allegations of misconduct