South Africa


Western Cape premier briefs legislature on Fritz firing while court review on sexual misconduct inquiry looms

Western Cape premier briefs legislature on Fritz firing while court review on sexual misconduct inquiry looms
Fired Western Cap MEC for Community Safety Albert Fritz. (Photo: Gallo Images / Misha Jordaan)

More details about the independent investigation into alleged sexual misconduct by former MEC Albert Fritz emerged in the Western Cape legislature on Wednesday. At the same time, Fritz confirmed he is taking the investigator’s report on review before the high court.

‘It was very difficult for these claimants to come forward,” said advocate Janine Williams in the Western Cape legislature on Wednesday. Williams and Premier Alan Winde briefed the legislature after the completion of an independent investigation by Williams into allegations of sexual misconduct against Albert Fritz, the former community safety MEC. 

Winde fired Fritz on Tuesday after deeming him “not fit and proper” to hold a position in his provincial Cabinet. 

Williams’ investigation found sufficient credibility in allegations of sexual misconduct and alcohol abuse, and evidence of Fritz “creating an environment that is conducive to sexual harassment, or alternatively, taking advantage of young women sexually”, according to a statement issued by Winde’s office. 

Albert Fritz deemed ‘not fit and proper’, fired from provincial cabinet after sexual misconduct probe 

During the briefing at the Oversight Committee on Community Safety, Cultural Affairs and Sport, members wanted a full copy of the report. However, committee members, like the public, were given only a summary and conclusion of the report. Williams and Winde said this was because of confidentiality agreements between the complainants and Williams.

Williams, who interviewed 18 people for the report, said she had video evidence, pictures of alcohol, written responses, statements, WhatsApps and emails.

She urged the committee to “be sensitive in the way this is handled”, as the complainants, as well as Fritz, were watching the session, which was broadcast live on YouTube. 

Williams said she had taken a “victim-centred approach”, asking for the complainants’ consent at every step of the process, and providing details for the premier and Fritz to respond to. The 81-page report includes a 12-page response from Fritz, said Williams. 

“It was very difficult for the claimants to come forward,” said Williams. She said she found credible claims of sexual comments, attempted kissing, inappropriate touching and sexual intercourse. This, she said, took place over a number of years. 

When asked by committee member Pat Lekker if there were any complainants below the age of 21, Williams confirmed there was one. Some of them, she said, still worked in the provincial government. 


Williams told the committee she had received intimidating messages from factions and parties.

“I was essentially told to back off,” said Williams, but stressed that the committee should not get distracted by the intimidation. She said she had received intimidating messages and had blocked the numbers. She would provide the numbers and messages to the committee. 

When committee members asked Winde what was being done to protect Williams from intimidation, the premier replied: “I didn’t know she received any calls until now.”  

Williams said the messages had not influenced her and had been sent to other advocates at the Cape Bar before she received them. She told the committee that the messages could have come from any political party. 

Winde confirmed that four officials in the Department of Community Safety had been suspended for their involvement in the situation. In addition, investigations would be undertaken following claims that the incidents took place in accommodations while on work trips. Investigations would also be done to determine whether state resources were used to pay for alcohol during these trips, he said. 

Fritz’s response  

Daily Maverick obtained a statement issued by Fritz, who denied the allegations. He confirmed he would seek a review of the report in the high court. 

“I denied all the allegations on the basis that the alleged misconduct simply did not take place,” said Fritz. 

The former DA provincial leader said that after his suspension by the premier, he promised to give his full cooperation to the investigation. 

Fritz said that in early February, he was provided with a list of seven allegations made against him and was asked by Williams to respond to them. He said the allegations were slightly changed by 14 February after his legal representatives sought further clarity.

Fritz claimed that despite being promised an objective and fair investigation, his legal representatives were not present during the questioning of complainants nor was he provided with copies of their affidavits. 

He said he had been expected to provide detailed statements without seeing what the actual allegations were.

“This is tantamount to me being guilty and having to prove my innocence without the courtesy of a complete charge sheet.”  

The former MEC claimed that because of a “huge material dispute of facts” and the absence of his legal representatives to witness the noting of the complainants’ versions, Winde was given a “one-sided, untested version that to this day I have not been able to access and therefore defend”. 

Fritz confirmed that he had resigned as DA provincial interim leader, member of the provincial legislature and DA member. 

“The last two months’ ordeal is a consequence of political orchestration in order to assassinate my character and ensure my departure from political and executive office,” said Fritz. DM


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