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EDITORIAL | Society must ensure women work without fear

Ideas

EDITORIAL | Society must ensure women work without fear

The state and private entities need systems that give women and young people a safe space to raise GBV alarm

Editorial

Premier Alan Winde should be applauded for acting speedily in removing Western Cape community safety MEC Albert Fritz from his position on Tuesday. The allegations first became public about a month ago, but according to a recent Sunday Times story (https://www.timeslive.co.za/sunday-times/news/2022-01-30-suspended-mec-albert-fritzs-victims-said-to-be-young-da-members/) the claims had been floating around since 2019. At that point, the women feared the impact on their lives and jobs, and declined to take the matter further. Until a month ago, when Winde said he had received “serious allegations” pertaining to Fritz.

The case was then referred to adv Jennifer Williams for an independent investigation which has found sufficient evidence of sexual misconduct, alcohol abuse and the creation of an environment conducive to sexual harassment. 

Williams was asked to probe allegations by four young interns who where employed during Fritz’s tenure as MEC of social development and community safety. She concluded: “The evidence indicates a sustained culture of the sexual objectivation of women who work in the ministry, underpinned by an indisputable power imbalance. The power differential favours Mr Fritz due to his age, position of authority, political connections and gender.”..

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