- Western Cape Premier Alan Winde says an independent investigator is yet to be appointed to probe allegations of sexual misconduct against suspended Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz.
- In a statement, Winde said initially, the allegations were first brought to his attention by "a third party" informally on 23 November 2021.
- He has called on news agencies not to publish the names of complainants.
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde says he is "currently" not able to lay criminal charges in the sexual assault scandal involving suspended Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz.
However, Winde believed he could not rule out criminal charges should the investigation result in advice indicating that it was necessary or appropriate for him to do so.
"I am being assisted by the legal services unit of the Western Cape government, which has approached the State Attorney, instructing them that independent legal counsel be appointed to conduct an external investigation into the veracity of the allegations made against Minister Albert Fritz.
"We are currently awaiting confirmation from the State Attorney on the instruction, which we expect to receive imminently. I will provide the details of the appointee once confirmed," he said.
Winde said the allegations were first brought to his attention by "a third party" informally on 23 November 2021.
"I immediately requested affidavits from the persons directly involved so that I could take action. Since that date, I have ensured that the complainants were afforded due care and empathy and that no pressure was placed on them, noting the nature of their complaints.
"Earlier this month, I was informed that the complainants were now ready to hand over their affidavits. I met with them 11 days ago, accepted their accounts, and consulted with legal services on the next steps to take. In the interim, further individuals indicated that they would like to come forward too, and legal services took their accounts down," he said.
After receiving legal advice, Winde said he had enough information to suspend Fritz immediately after his meeting with the complainants.
"Due to the serious nature of the allegations, it is my belief that an independent legal expert with relevant experience is best placed to investigate these allegations and determine their veracity. It has been my request that the investigation be finalised as quickly as possible," he said.
Winde said further details on the matter would be released once the external investigator had been appointed.
He also said the complainants who approached him were informed of the option to lay criminal charges.
Winde called on media houses not to publish the names of the complainants.