- The ANC has called for an urgent sitting of the Western Cape Portfolio Committee on Community Safety.
- The calls come as MEC for Community Safety Albert Fritz has been suspended over allegations of sexually assaulting young women in his department.
- Part of the reason for the call for an urgent sitting is so that Premier Alan Winde can explain why he remained mum on the reasons for Fritz's suspension.
The ANC in the Western Cape has requested an urgent sitting of the Portfolio Committee on Community Safety amid an alleged sexual harassment scandal that has led to MEC for Community Safety Albert Fritz being suspended.
ANC MPL and leader of the opposition in the province, Cameron Dugmore, told News24 that his party's MPL Mesuli Kama has written to the chairperson of the portfolio committee, Reagen Allen, requesting that an urgent meeting be convened this week.
"We insist that Premier Alan Winde must attend this committee and answer questions. As leader of opposition I have received a number of further very disturbing allegations about the conduct of MEC Fritz who also happens to be the acting DA provincial leader," said Dugmore.
He added that, "... this province [the Western Cape] and the DA has a shameful history when it comes to dealing with allegations of sexual harassment. We know that despite the fact that [the] Chief Director in Provincial Transport Mr Farrel Payne has been criminally charged for attempted rape and sexual assault, he has not been suspended for the duration of his trial."
"He [Payne] remains in office."
READ | Western Cape Premier Alan Winde suspends MEC for community safety, Albert Fritz
Regarding MEC Fritz, Dugmore said the key question to ask was, "... how long have the premier and senior DA leaders known about these allegations?"
"How many [alleged] victims have been affected? When did this start?"
He added that it seemed unimaginable that people in Fritz's, "... office, in his department, and in his party did not know about this.
"There are possible criminal charges at play here, possible breaches of the code of conduct. The truth must come out and victims supported," said Dugmore.
The GOOD party secretary-general Brett Herron also called for an urgent need for clarification following the sudden announcement, saying that the residents of the Western Cape are owed answers.
"There's far too much speculation about what the suspension is about, and the statement that was released late this evening [Sunday] gives no clarification, no indication and no detail.
"The premier owes it to the people of the Western Cape to explain what the suspension is about, and to give some indication as to whether the allegations are related to performance in his office or matters related outside of his official office as a member of the executive council," Herron said.
READ | Anroux Marais to replace Albert Fritz who steps aside amid sex scandal
News24 reported that Fritz was suspended following serious allegations of sexual assault that were levelled against him by young employees.
Four independent sources confirmed to News24 that sexual assault allegations were at the core of the suspension.
Winde announced Fritz's suspension late on Sunday evening without divulging the reasons for the decision.
A direct source who had knowledge of the suspension, however, said: "He [Fritz] allegedly sexually assaulted young female workers in his office."
"This has been known since last year," said a source. It was unclear whether criminal charges had been laid against Fritz.
Winde was expected to address community safety department employees on Monday. It was unclear whether other staff members would be suspended.
We want to hear your views on the news. Subscribe to News24 to be part of the conversation in the comments section of this article.