SHOULD I jump or shouldn’t I?”
Ten hours later, after endless pleas by residents, the police, Eskom technicians and emergency services staff, the man finally decided he wouldn’t jump.
Some onlookers were terrified that he would jump while others, with cellphone cameras at the ready, were curious and waited to see if he would go through with his threat.
The unknown man was sitting on top of an electricity pylon in Mofolo, Soweto on Monday. He caught the attention of motorists as they drove past. They started to hoot, drawing the attention of people on the ground, who started to gather around, and alerting the authorities.
Eskom technicians quickly switched off power in the area to prevent the man from electrocuting himself.
According to Constable John Serala of the Moroka police, the man in his 30s was on the pylon for hours. He had been threatening to jump down or electrocute himself.
Pleading residents couldn’t convince him to come down.
“He didn’t eat anything the whole day and started to become weak,” said Serala.
At about 7pm negotiators from Joburg’s emergency services and cops finally convinced him to climb down. There were cheers from the crowd as they watched him reach the safety of the ground.
“He was dizzy and dehydrated from being there for so long. He was too weak to talk and we took him to hospital for treatment,” Serala said.
The man was not arrested.
Serala said the man was from Limpopo and had been visiting people in Soweto.
“We understand he felt neglected by his friends and decided the best thing was to die,” said Serala.