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‘I am extremely angry’: Alan Winde removes suspended MEC over damning sexual misconduct report

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Western Cape premier Alan Winde has removed suspended community safety MEC Albert Fritz from the provincial cabinet adding that he was “not a fit and proper person to hold any position in my executive council”.

Fritz was given the chop after the finalisation of an independent investigation into the veracity of allegations of sexual misconduct. A report on the findings of the probe was handed to Winde on Sunday evening.

“This morning I informed Albert Fritz of my decision to remove him from the provincial executive cabinet, effective immediately,” Winde said in a statement on Tuesday.

“I made this decision after receiving a report from advocate Jennifer Williams following the finalisation of her independent investigation to test the veracity of several allegations that were made against him, which led to his suspension last month … I have considered the content, and a meeting with advocate Williams and our own legal team took place yesterday afternoon, where we discussed it and I sought further clarity.

“Having gone through this report carefully, it is clear to me that Mr Fritz is not a fit and proper person to hold any position in my executive council. He has therefore been removed, in line with the powers vested in me by the constitution.”

The investigation, said Winde, had found “sufficient credibility” in the allegations of sexual misconduct, alcohol abuse and the creation of an environment “conducive to sexual misconduct”.

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

“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.

“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.

“We acknowledge the bravery of the complainants who came forward, who have suffered immense anxiety. It is important that the manner in which these allegations are dealt with does not disempower them.”

Winde initiated an independent investigation after receiving statements from complainants alleging incidents of sexual misconduct. Eighteen people, including Fritz, were interviewed during the probe. Witnesses submitted photographs, emails, videos, text messages and correspondence.

Fritz denied the allegations and answered all questions put to him but the report found his version “fails to substantively address the specific allegations made and is inherently incongruent with the evidence as a whole”.

The complainants have not yet opened criminal cases.

“I will today meet the complainants that confided in me and again offer my support should they elect to pursue criminal charges. It is our view that there is sufficient evidence to warrant a criminal investigation,” said Winde.


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