The police in the Western Cape has confirmed that an inquiry into the allegations levelled against suspended Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz is underway. The Western Cape Government said it fully supports the inquiry.
POLICE CONFIRM INQUIRY
South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson in the Western Cape Brigadier Novela Potelwa told News24 that an inquiry into the sexual assault allegations against Fritz has been opened, however, a criminal case is yet to be opened because SAPS is awaiting documentation relevant to the matter.
Potelwa said the documents, included statements from the victims.
This comes after the ANC in the Western Cape wrote to the provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Thembisile Patekile to request that he investigate whether allegations against Fritz warranted a criminal investigation.
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde suspended Fritz on Sunday and has released information about the matter on a daily basis. However, he is yet to reveal the nature of the allegations but it has been widely reported that Fritz allegedly preyed on young women in his department.
Fritz’s spokesperson Wade Seale, David Abrahams (Head of the Community Safety ministry), Michael Kwaaiman (support officer) and Lazola Ndubela (department official) have all been suspended for their alleged involvement in the matter, pending the investigation.
Winde revealed that he was first alerted to the allegations in November 2021. The complainants handed over affidavits earlier in January, which is what prompted the suspension. The Western Cape government has also launched an external investigation this week.
“The ANC remains convinced that Premier Winde, who has sat on information relating to MEC’s alleged sexual misconduct for over 2 months, could be concealing a criminal matter and in the process defeat the ends of justice,” said the ANC in the Western Cape.
Potelwa said the Patekile’s office acknowledged the ANC’s letter, on Thursday. “At this point, it bears noting that an inquiry has been opened by SAPS while key pertinent documentation is awaited before a case is registered.”
“The doors of the SAPS remain open for all victims of the crime to open cases with the necessary support availed to them by police,” said the police spokesperson.
WINDE SAYS PROVINCE WILL COOPERATE
Earlier this week, Winde said the complainants who approached him were informed that they have the right to approach the police and make a criminal complaint.
The Premier, however, added that the provincial government would wait for the external investigation into the allegations to be finalised before taking such steps.
On Wednesday, the State Attorney appointed Advocate Jennifer Williams to conduct the external investigation into the veracity of the sexual assault allegations made against Fritz.
Winde said he will meet with Williams on Thursday and brief her on the details that have been brought to him by several complainants. This information would allow her to immediately begin the investigation, said the Premier.
“The Western Cape Government will fully support any inquiry by the South African Police Service relating to the allegations made against Minister Albert Fritz. We also note that a case has not yet been registered,” said Winde.
In a new development, the Premier said the complainants are being referred to an NGO that is “dedicated to the assistance of complainants of the nature in question.”
The South African reached out to SAPS for comment, which was not received by the time of publication.