Former arts editor Coenie Slabber accused of sexually abusing underage boys

Former arts editor Coenie Slabber being interviewed. Picture: Supplied

Prominent Afrikaans media figure Coenie Slabber has been accused by several men of sexual abuse back when they were in their teenage years. According to News24, the publication is in the possession of three affidavits from men who accuse the 80-year-old former arts editor of Rapport of sexually abusing them while they were minors.

Two of the men have publicly come forward. They are celebrated Afrikaans writer and columnist Herman Lategan as well as Afrikaans author, journalist and former Voëlvry Movement anti-apartheid protest singer Theunis Engelbrecht. 

As reported by News24, Lategan writes in his affidavit that, following several pleasant visits to Slabber’s Bloubergstrand flat when his personal circumstances were dire, Slabber one night came up behind him when he was 15 years old, as he was brushing his teeth, and fondled his penis. He further alleges that Slabber came into his room that same night and performed oral sex on him. 

“From then on it became a regular occurrence,” Lategan writes.

Approached by News24 for comment, Slabber responded by saying that Lategan is someone who was prone to gossip and telling stories and who could be malicious and fiercely critical of people who he felt had wronged him. 

“I am not surprised that Herman is making these allegations given his temperament. What does surprise me, is that he is doing it now, towards the end of my life.”

While Lategan was initially the only one the three accusers to come forward publicly, after reading Slabber’s above comments Engelbrecht also decided to give up his anonymity. 

In a written submission to News24, Engelbrecht writes that “Slabber’s pathetic attempts to cast suspicion on Lategan by suggesting that he is an emotional, unstable troublemaker have made me decide to come to the fore.

“It seems that, when a gay boy or teenager is the victim of a paedophile, it is not considered serious. What can one expect from people who are taught by their churches and their schools that gay people’s love is inferior?” Engelbrecht also asked.

Ishmet Davidson, CEO of Media24, said the company condemned in the strongest possible terms any form of violence and abuse. 

“We do not have any personnel documents on record for Coenie Slabber as he left Media24’s employee too long ago,” Davidson explained.