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Anti-GBV activist Lucinda Evans speaks out on MEC Fritz sex assault allegations

Lucinda Evans, executive director of Philisa Abafazi Bethu (Heal our Women). Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Lucinda Evans, executive director of Philisa Abafazi Bethu (Heal our Women). Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jan 24, 2022

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Cape Town - Civil society organisations have come forward demanding Premier Alan Winde to open a case against the suspended community safety MEC Albert Fritz.

This comes after Winde released a statement on Sunday evening indicating he had suspended Fritz following "serious allegations" pertaining to his conduct.

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According to media reports Fritz’s suspension is linked to sexual assault allegations that were levelled against him by young employees.

Human rights activist Zintle Khobeni, chairperson of civil society organisation The Great People of SA has urged the Western Cape provincial government to fully comply and help the police with its investigations into those allegations, protect the complainants and ensure that justice prevails.

Khobeni has said they note the hypocrisy of politicians and their political parties, who decorate their manifestos and policies with anti-GBV expressions yet harbour perpetrators in their organisations.

"Political parties must refrain from making GBV a political sport," Khobeni said.

Lucinda Evans, executive director of Philisa Abafazi Bethu (Heal our Women), said she was utterly shocked to learn about the allegations made against Fritz.

"You know, the state of our country in this province that when you hear these things from high ranking officials, one should not be shocked," Evans said.

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She has said the question to ask Winde, is "what are you going to do if these allegations turn out to be what we are thinking and not speculating it possibly could be?".

"What are you going to do to ensure that the necessity is being done, to ensure there is protection for all, including the victims," Evans said.

She has said she has been called by numerous people, "and I want to make this statement in saying that if it is alleged that the misconduct is of a sexual nature and there are victims, then my first and foremost question is, could we expect as the women of the Western Cape that there would be cases opened and with the Western Cape government then support the victim(s)?"

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In a statement this afternoon, Winde announced that he appointed cultural affairs and sport MEC Anroux Marais, as the acting MEC for community safety.

Marais will ensure that the department of community safety continues to respond to communities’ safety needs and to drive the important safety priorities.

Winde said: "I know there have been many questions raised around the nature of the allegations which resulted in the suspension of Fritz. It is always my preference to be open and transparent with residents of the province and the media."

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He said in this case, however, noting specific requests by the complainants for confidentiality, the seriousness of the allegations made and the rights of all parties to a fair and unprejudiced investigation into the veracity of the claims made, he may not do so at this stage.

"I assure you that I am treating this matter with the seriousness it deserves and I will provide further updates as soon as I am able to," Winde said .

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