Former media executive charged with indecent and sexual assault gets R50,000 bail

Willem Breytenbach in the Cape Town magistrate's court on Thursday, December 5 2019.
Willem Breytenbach in the Cape Town magistrate's court on Thursday, December 5 2019.
Image: Twitter/Nadine Theron

Former Media24 executive Willem Breytenbach, who is facing indecent and sexual assault charges, was released on R50,000 bail on Thursday.

Breytenbach appeared in the Cape Town magistrate's court after being arrested at his psychologist's practice in Hartenbos near Mossel Bay on Tuesday.

The prosecution did not oppose bail but asked the court to impose stringent conditions before his release on Thursday. Breytenbach, who wore a sagging green T-shirt and blue jeans, was not asked to plead.

He allegedly committed the crimes in 1997 and 2017. Johannesburg-based copywriter Deon Wiggett has publicly accused Breytenbach of rape.

In a four-part podcast, My Only Story, Wiggett revealed Breytenbach — a former teacher — allegedly groomed and sexually abused him and other men 22 years ago. According to Wiggett, he was 17 at the time. He said his father’s death revived memories of his traumatic encounter.

According to the bail conditions, Breytenbach is not allowed to leave the Mossel Bay magisterial district without the knowledge of the investigating officer, must report to the local police station three time as week, hand over his passport and not contact his alleged victims.  The matter was postponed to February 4.

After the court hearing Eric Ntabazalila, spokesperson for the prosecution authority in the Western Cape, said the state intended to add more charges against Breytenbach.

“We have asked for stringent bail conditions which will ensure that the accused will return to court,” said Ntabazalila.

“He should not make contact with the complainants, directly or indirectly or through social media. At the moment he is facing two charges: one of indecent assault and one of sexual assault. The [alleged] indecent assault happened in 1997 and the [alleged] sexual assault in 2017.

"There are still pending matters against the accused, the investigation is continuing and there are more charges likely to be added,” he said.