Deon Wiggett has been tracking down the man who allegedly raped him more than 20 years ago. In a four-part true crime podcast supplied exclusively to News24, Wiggett unmasked the man he had previously referred to as “Jimmy” as Willem Breytenbach, a former Grey College teacher and Media24 executive
Wiggett has since found a number of Breytenbach’s alleged victims who have come forward to tell their stories.
Some of these claims of sexual abuse of minors took place while Breytenbach was a teacher at, among others, Grey College in Bloemfontein in 1989 and 1990.
Others allegedly took place when Breytenbach was involved with a school newspaper project while in the employ of Media24.
News24 had consulted extensively with its lawyers before revealing Breytenbach’s true identity
According to Media24‘s attorney Willem de Klerk, the publication of these allegations and Breytenbach’s true identity were in the public interest and legally justified.
Since the publication of the first podcast on 7 November, Breytenbach has closed all his social media accounts and has been unreachable by phone. He has also subsequently closed his business, Lightspeed Digital Media in Cape Town, and told nearly 30 employees to resign. His whereabouts are unknown, despite several attempts to locate him through former colleagues and family members.
De Klerk told News24 that the media had in the past identified various alleged sex offenders based on disclosures made by their victims.
“In many cases, that is all you have to go on because these offences tend to happen behind closed doors. In this instance, we have Deon Wiggett who has made these claims under his own name.
“We have interviewed him and he has described what happened to him in great detail. In these cases, one has to make a call based on the credibility of the allegations. In this case, we have no reason to doubt the credibility of the information.
“But it doesn’t stop with Wiggett’s claims. Several others have independently come forward with similar allegations, mostly dating back to times when they were minors or young adults and Breytenbach was in a position of authority and trust.”
|Listen to My Only Story, Episode 1 HERE.
“There is something I witnessed the year I left high school. It has been more than 20 years since I resolved to forget it forever. And I did. Until now. At one time in my life, I might have had any number of stories, but now there is no other. This is the only story I will ever be able to tell. Join me as I dig into the past to try to stop a terrible crime being committed in December,” – Deon Wiggett.
Listen to My Only Story, episode 2 HERE.
Wiggett, as well as two other men, have made statements that are in the possession of News24‘s lawyers.
“It is therefore in the public interest to expose these allegations and to identify Breytenbach.”
“The information we have points to a behavioural pattern, which may present an ongoing risk.
“We have good reason to believe that the evidence presented to us is the truth and will stand up in court. We believe that News24 is entitled to publish these allegations in the public interest,” De Klerk said.
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 012 590 1001. News24 is continuing its investigation into Breytenbach. If you have information about him or his whereabouts, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The final episode of My Only Story will be published on 28 November.
Before founding his own companies, Breytenbach headed the digital division of Media24 magazines. He also headed the Media24 weekly magazines division. Prior to that, he headed up a business development for Naspers in India. He started his career with the company as an education reporter at Die Burger, before becoming business editor and later news editor. He also headed the school newspaper project.
News24 is owned by Media24, a division of Naspers.