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Fritz sex assault claims: 'emphasis and empathy should be with alleged victims'

25 January 2022 9:02 AM
Tags:
Western Cape
Albert Fritz
DA
sexual assault claims

Prof Erwin Schwella, Dean of the School of Social Innovation at Hugenote, speaks to Refilwe Moloto about the DA's latest crisis.
  • Prof Erwin Schwells analyses the current allegations of sexual abuse by Albert Fritz who has stepped down amid the claims
  • Schewells says the empathy and focus should be on the alleged victims of sexual abuse

MEC Albert Fritz. Picture: EWN.

Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz has stepped down amid sex assault claims.

On Monday night Premier Alan Winde replaced Fritz with Anroux Marais.

He also said the confidentiality and privacy of the complainants are being respected, hence his reluctance to provide more details.

Fritz is also the DA's acting party leader in the Western Cape.

His stepping down comes after previous leader Bonginkosi Madikizela resigned as a MEC and provincial leader after being exposed for lying about his academic qualifications.

So how will this impact this party?

Prof Erwin Schwella, Dean of the School of Social Innovation at Hugenote, speaks to Refilwe Moloto about the Democratic Alliance's latest crisis as Western Cape party leader

RELATED: Suspended WC MEC Albert Fritz accused of sex assault by young female staffers

Schwella says until the allegations are proved to be true it needs to be handled with care.

It is necessary to deal with this with a lot of pathos and empathy and however make sure that justice gets priority.

Prof Erwin Schwella, Dean of the School of Social Innovation - Hugenote College

What is the status of the investigation regarding the cases of alleged sexual assault?

He says the proper due process has to be undertaken on a number of levels.

There are different transgressions. there could be issues here that are actually criminal either in terms of the common law or our statutory law. There are also issues around party discipline if political parties are involved. There are issues around government discipline where there are many codes of conduct related to these matters.

Prof Erwin Schwella, Dean of the School of Social Innovation - Hugenote College

The emphasis and empathy should be with those people who are allegedly the victims.

Prof Erwin Schwella, Dean of the School of Social Innovation - Hugenote College

A number of processes are underway he says.

We see the impact of that by means of a number of roleplayers who are visible, in this case, the premier, the accused, and the people we do not see, and who would prefer not to be seen, the victims.

Prof Erwin Schwella, Dean of the School of Social Innovation - Hugenote College

My view on this is that whatever gets done should be very, very concerned about the further traumatisation of alleged victims in these types of cases.

Prof Erwin Schwella, Dean of the School of Social Innovation - Hugenote College

Allegations have emerged that four staff members in the department groomed women for Fritz, including interns and young women in small town in the Western Cape.

It fills one with profound sadness...about people who are meant to have integrity...if these allegations are true - and it seems as if there are patterns and there is already emerging corroboration for some of these allegations. Obviously, we need to wait for the final results of the proper investigation and due process.

Prof Erwin Schwella, Dean of the School of Social Innovation - Hugenote College

Schwella believes such behaviour can often be found in seats of power.

Why does this happen when people have all the privileges that they have? Where is the moral fibre?

Prof Erwin Schwella, Dean of the School of Social Innovation - Hugenote College

It often gets swept under the carpet he adds.

At least here...the victims had the resilience to say we are not going to tolerate this.

Prof Erwin Schwella, Dean of the School of Social Innovation - Hugenote College

All




25 January 2022 9:02 AM
Tags:
Western Cape
Albert Fritz
DA
sexual assault claims

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