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.

According to an e-mail, 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.

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.

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 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.”

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 podcast, and realised that he was ready to tell his story.

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

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.

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.

During 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.

In his remarks, Breytenbach asked that the journalists leave.

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

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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