'I was raped in the toilet' - another man alleges that he was a victim of Breytenbach

2019-11-24 16:54
Willem Breytenbach. (Instagram)

Willem Breytenbach. (Instagram)

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Another man has accused Willem Breytenbach, a former Media24 magazine executive and teacher, of sexual abuse. 

So far at least 16 men have come forward with allegations against Breytenbach. 

In an email sent to Rapport and published on Netwerk24, the man whose identity has been withheld details how Breytenbach took an interest in him when he started working at Die Burger in Cape Town as a graphic designer 16 years ago. 

At the time, the man was 22-years-old and was working on a special project for the newspaper in the marketing department. He said Breytenbach was above him on a management level. 

Older, wiser mentor

He said at first Breytenbach invited him out to go eat somewhere. This was always followed up with text messages and emails. The man said the messages were always friendly and he thought that the two of them were becoming friends. They never discussed their sexual orientation and they never discussed anything sexual. The man said that Breytenbach was like an older, wiser mentor who did his best to ensure that he was growing at the company. He said this made him feel special as he was getting special attention. 

He wrote that everything changed when he had to come to the office one Saturday in 2004 to finish off some work. 

He said soon after his arrival he received a message from Breytenbach to come to his office to talk about his work. 


MY ONLY STORY | A podcast series and live investigation into a sexual predator


Breytenbach was behind his desk. As they spoke, Breytenbach moved to come stand where he was sitting.  The man alleges that while Breytenbach held one of his designs in his one hand, he pushed against the man's penis with his other hand. Initially the man thought it was an accident, and moved away as he felt uncomfortable. Breytenbach attempted to do it again, and then allegedly grabbed the man and tried to kiss him. The shocked man asked him to stop. 

Breytenbach then asked the man if he had feelings for him, to which he responded he was in a relationship and that Breytenbach was not his type.  He claimed that Breytenbach would not take no for an answer and continued to talk about sex. He then tried to put the man's hand on his penis. 

The man says he excused himself and left the office, thinking that Breytenbach had got the message. 

In an effort to calm down, he went to the bathroom. He then alleges that Breytenbach also entered the bathroom and moved towards him.


"He just left me there when he was finished. I was scared and alone and confused."

He said that Breytenbach grabbed him and took him into one of the stalls where he allegedly raped him. 

"He just left me there when he was finished. I was scared and alone and confused. It took me a while to realise what had happened," the man wrote. 

Following the incident, the man left the building and went to see his boyfriend. After telling his boyfriend what happened, his partner called Breytenbach to confront him. The couple then decided to not do anything until Breytenbach had spoken to him at the office. 

"I now know that we should have done something straight away, but my boyfriend and I were so young and naive. I wanted to hear what he would say to me."

'Nothing wrong'

On the Monday, the man said Breytenbach told him in his office that what happened was not wrong as they were both adults. He told the man it was unprofessional to kiss in the office and if it came out, it could ruin the man's career. 

The man said he then thought about it and told himself that while he had said no to Breytenbach in the office, he had not done so in the toilet. 

He said two weeks later he was called to another manager's office where he was told that his position at Die Burger would not be made permanent and that he was no longer needed. 

He said after this he just 'buried' everything until he listened to News24's My Only Story podcast, and realised that he was ready to tell his story. 

'More allegations'

In the four-part true-crime podcast by copywriter Deon Wiggett, levels allegations against Breytenbach, whose career included a stint as a teacher at Grey College in Bloemfontein.

Wiggett accuses Breytenbach of raping him as a schoolboy in 1997.

The abuse allegations were reported to police last Monday and News24 is in possession of three statements implicating Breytenbach in the alleged grooming, sexual assault and what would today be regarded as the rape of minors. The police are investigating the case.

Some of these alleged sexual abuses of minors took place while Breytenbach was a teacher between 1989 and 1994.

Others were allegedly when he was a reporter for Die Burger and in charge of the Naspers school newspaper project between 1995 and 2003.

Media24 is also conducting its own investigation and, after checking his personnel files for the period he was employed from 1995 to 2014, found no trace of any such allegations against him. On Friday, Media24 CEO Ishmet Davidson asked staff with new information to come forward and report such information to the company and the police.

Media24 has also confirmed to News24 that the man who wrote the letter to Rapport was employed at the company. 

Suicide attempt

It has also since emerged that Breytenbach tried to end his life  on a beach near Mossel Bay last week.

It was just after 21:00 on November 15, that members of a neighbourhood watch patrolling the serene Tergniet Beach area spotted a man lying on the beach, apparently unresponsive, said the source with direct knowledge of the incident, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The source said that, when the ambulance arrived for Breytenbach on Friday night, he was in a bad way.

"He put several different types of medication in a bag and he crushed it, and then he drank it with alcohol," the source said.

'Sexual predator' Breytenbach attempted suicide on Mossel Bay beach

Willem Breytenbach, the former Media24 magazine executive and teacher who is being accused by at least 16 men of sexual abuse, tried to end his life on a beach near Mossel Bay last week, News24 can confirm.

A squeezy bottle with a mixture of alcohol in it was also found near him, and his condition was critical.

"But he was breathing."

Two Great Brak police sources confirmed the incident.

Since the release of Wigget's podcast, Breytenbach has closed his company Lightspeed Digital Media, which had 30 staffers, abandoned his upmarket Cape Town home, closed his social media and company website, and ignored his phone.

News24 traced him to Reebok, a small pretty seaside town along the Southern Cape coast, outside Mossel Bay, where his elderly mother lives.

This is not far from the quiet pretty beach on which he tried to end his life.

News24 visited Breytenbach for comment, but he asked that the journalists leave.

"With respect I have nothing to say." Asked whether he was in hospital, Breytenbach said he was doing well.

  • The SA Depression and Anxiety Group's suicide crisis line number is 0800 567 567 for help, support, and somebody to talk to. They also offer online counselling between 8:00 and 16:00 on the same website.
  • The final episode of My Only Story will be published on November 28.

Warrant Officer Rowan Andrews is the investigating officer in the case. He has confirmed to News24 that the criminal investigation into Breytenbach is ongoing and has asked members of the public with information that can assist the case to contact him on 082 729 8155 or 021 590 1001.

News24 is continuing its investigation into Breytenbach. If you have information about him or his whereabouts, send an email to tips@24.com.

News24 is owned by Media24, a division of Naspers.


Read more on:    willem breytenbach  |  cape town  |  sexual abuse  |  my only story
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