‘Man drove from Joburg to kill himself’

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IOL  ND kloof gorge Ragout E2 (39928294) . How the Daily News reported the man's jump.

Johannesburg - A senior Johannesburg bank manager who plunged 80m off Kloof Gorge on Monday night has been battling with depression for a number of years.

He had been under immense pressure with his job and was working long hours.

This was also not the first time the 51-year-old had attempted to end his life, according to his wife.

She said on Wednesday he was recovering well at the Hillcrest Private Hospital and was “grateful to be alive”.

She said on Monday that her husband had “wanted to end it”.

He had driven from Johannesburg to Durban to kill himself, she said.

“But he is happy to have survived and is in a much better frame of mind.”

Her husband was familiar with the Kloof Gorge because her family was from the area.

“We have been on lots of walks in the gorge. My nephew once took him there on a hair-raising hike. It’s such a beautiful place but also made him feel fearful.”

They have three grown children.

Recalling Monday’s events, she said it had started out as a “very normal morning”.

“He went to work and later that afternoon he sent me an SMS. In it he said he was very proud of us and hoped God will forgive him.”

She called his office to find out if he was okay. A work colleague told her she was worried about him.

A few hours later, she was contacted by a member of SA Can (South African Community Action Network) who informed her he had jumped off the cliff.

She arrived in Durban on Tuesday. She said her husband was awake and talking.

He miraculously escaped with minor injuries.

“His hip was displaced but it has been put back. A piece of the hip bone was chipped off so he might have to go into theatre later today. His ears are also bandaged. God put a tree in his way and he landed on a ledge,” she said.

She said they would be going for counselling to become more aware of the indicators of depression.

“He said he would love to go on a roadshow to tell people about depression. If you suffer from depression people just expect you to get on with it but it’s really hard to deal with.”

She said they could not thank those involved enough for their help. “SA Can and the crisis centre have been absolutely amazing.”

She also thanked the two girls who first alerted SA Can.

“If it wasn’t for them then nobody would have known he was there.”

On Monday night, emergency personnel were called to the gorge after the two teenagers witnessed him leap from a cliff.

The girls had been enjoying the view when he arrived, got out of his car, gave them his keys and cellphone and then jumped.

Daily News



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