Western Cape Prime Minister Alan Winde has named the lawyer hired to investigate the sexual assault investigation brought against suspended Western Cape Community Safety Commissioner Albert Fritz.
Attorney Jennifer Williams, a former director of the Women’s Legal Center and an attorney at the Cape Bar, has been hired as independent legal counsel to investigate.
External investigator appointed
Winde made the announcement Wednesday after the provincial government’s legal department contacted the prosecutor, asking that an outside investigator be appointed to investigate the veracity of the allegations against Fritz.
Winde suspended Fritz on Sunday due to “serious allegations” of misconduct.
Sources and media reports later revealed that the allegations were sexual in nature after several women – most of them interns working in Fritz’s office and employees of the Expanded Public Works Program – accused him of sexual assault.
ALSO READ: Miché Solomon ‘Testifying’ in Sexual Assault Inquiry
The prime minister pledged to make the findings of the inquiry public when it was completed.
“I will report the outcome of the investigation and will take any necessary or appropriate action upon completion.
“I have every confidence that this investigation will be conducted with the integrity it deserves,” Winde said in a statement.
Winde appointed MEC Anroux Marais for Western Cape Cultural Affairs and Sport to act in Fritz’s position.
Four officers from the MEC office have also been suspended pending investigation after they were implicated in alleged acts of grooming and intoxicating the young women before allegedly sexually abusing them, News24 reported.
They included Wade Seale, spokesman for Fritz, head of community security David Abrahams, support officer Michael Kwaaiman and another officer, Lazola Ndubela.
On Tuesday, Winde announced that the initial allegations against Fritz were first brought to his attention informally by a third party on November 23, 2021.
He said he immediately solicited affidavits from those directly involved and ensured that the complainants were given “due care and empathy and no pressure was put on them, establishing the nature of their grievances”.
“Earlier this month I was informed that the complainants were now ready to submit their affidavits. I met with them 11 days ago, accepted their accounts and consulted with Legal on next steps.
“Meanwhile, more people have indicated they would like to come forward as well, and legal services have deleted their accounts.
“Following my meeting with the complainants and having received legal advice, I felt I had sufficient information to immediately suspend the MEC and call for an independent investigation into this matter,” Winde said in a statement.
The Prime Minister did not rule out the possibility of criminal charges being filed against the MEC once the investigation was completed.
He said the complainants who approached him were informed that they also had the option of filing criminal charges.
At the same time, the ANC in the Western Cape, which has accused prosecutors of covering up the scandal, promised to file a criminal complaint against Fritz with the police.
Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe
READ NOW: Premier Winde can still file criminal charges against Fritz