Pietermaritzburg - Flamboyant KwaZulu-Natal businessman Rob Taylor has reportedly jumped to his death on Table Mountain.
Taylor, a Howick property developer, made headlines last year when he gave his Audi R8 worth over R2m, and R20 000 in cash, to eight car guards who worked at the Table Mountain cable car station.
The mountain apparently had a fascination for Taylor.
On Monday eNews quoted him as saying it is the “portal to Heaven”.
Cableway marketing manager Collette van Aswegen said the man, who has not been officially identified by his family as Taylor, went up the mountain in the cable car and went to one of the viewing decks.
“The information we have is very limited. We understand that he just jumped and we seldom have incidents of this nature. This was an unfortunate one,” said Van Aswegen.
SHOOT: We have seldom had incident of this nature. I should hope not.
Director for the Western Cape Emergency Medical Services, Cleeve Robertson, said they were called to the scene just after 18:00.
According to Robertson, witnesses were on the mountain as the cable car operates until 21:00.
Stretched out arms
Witnesses said the man took off his backpack, stretched out his arms and jumped.
“When we got there the body was lying about 80m below the cableway. It was a significant fall with no likelihood of surviving and the rescue operation was completed at about 22:00.
“From the witnesses' account, it appears that the man intentionally plunged to his death. We sent our helicopter to retrieve the body as it is the easiest way in that condition,” said Robertson.
The Witness has learnt that a credit card was found in the deceased’s pocket and the police used it to informally identify him.
A recorded message on Taylor’s cellphone reportedly tells callers that the number is no longer in use.
Cape Town police spokesperson Captain Ezra October would not confirm the man’s identity, but said Taylor’s relatives arrived at the police station on Monday afternoon.
“The identification was not done, but the men spoke to the investigating officers and left. We can confirm the identity after the family has done so tomorrow (Wednesday),” said October.
He said the police cannot say it was a suicide case until the investigation and autopsy are completed.
A Howick resident who did not wish to be named said Taylor did a lot to develop the area.
“He had a big heart and always helped the needy. He gave to charity work expecting nothing in return,” said the resident.
A source close to Taylor said that during a meeting with Amber Valley residents late last year on future plans for Amber Valley, it was clear to everybody that Taylor was agitated.
“It appeared that he was alienated from some of his family.
“He said that he wished to be free of attachments to money or worldly things, that he wished to live in peace with the world, and that he would like to give most of his money away,” said the source.
SHOOT: Well dying is one way to be free of attachments, but I imagine there are a few other ways that work too. Like travelling the world with no baggage. This guy was probably bipolar or something. Did he die because he felt happy, because he was miserable or because he had a screw loose?