Sonke Gender Justice welcomes Premier Alan Winde’s decision to remove Albert Fritz from his position. This comes after an independent investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct, allegedly against young women recruited to work in his office, was completed.
We learned earlier this year that Albert Fritz, the Western Cape Community Safety MEC at the time, stepped aside after employees leveled serious allegations of sexual assault against him.
Sonke congratulates Advocate Jennifer Williams on her prompt investigation into sexual misconduct allegations leveled against Western Cape community safety MEC Albert Fritz.
Advocate Jennifer Williams interviewed 18 people, including the complainants, collateral witnesses, Fritz, and individuals he nominated. The evidence points to a pervasive culture of sexual objectification of women in the ministry, supported by an undeniable power imbalance. We wonder how deep this culture is in the Western cape government? We doubt that this would have been an isolated incident. We hope others who may have been exposed to this toxic culture may be emboldened by this to also come forward.
When powerful men are found guilty of criminal or human rights violations, they are far too often spared the full might of the law. That is why we must amplify the voices of those who come forward and make sure that the law takes its course and ensure that there are adequate safeguarding processes in place. We must stand in solidarity with women who are speaking out and reclaiming their voices and power. This is not the time for silence, especially given South Africa’s high rate of gender-based violence against women.
Women have the right to equal participation in the workplace, free of violence, harassment, and discrimination. Unfortunately, for many women, safe workplaces are not a reality.
Sexual objectification or grooming of younger women is a symptom of an underlying problem that exists on our streets, in our homes, in our schools, in our communities, in places of worship and in our workplaces. The betrayal of survivors by community’s leadership who are supposed to serve the community is reprehensible. We cannot accept violations of human rights, particularly those of women. Sonke stands in solidarity with the victims and survivors of this vile act.
While Sonke welcomes that Fritz has been fired from his position after the allegations were proven to be credible. We urge that criminal charges be filed against former MEC Albert Fritz.
We hope more institutions both in the public and private sector will follow this example of dealing with such cases speedily and decisively.
For media enquiries, contact:
Bafana Khumalo, Co-Executive Director and Co-Chairperson, Global MenEngage Alliance: firstname.lastname@example.org or 082 -578-4479.
Given Sigauqwe, CSI Manager, Sonke Gender Justice, email@example.com or 073-988-2870.
Notes to editors
Sonke is a South African-based non-profit organisation working throughout Africa. We believe women and men, girls and boys can work together to resist patriarchy, advocate for gender justice, and achieve gender transformation.