Rob Taylor’s death jump

2011-01-11 00:00

FLAMBOYANT KZN 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 5,2 worth over R2 million, 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. Last night e-new­s 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.

Director for the Western Cape Emergency Medical Services, Cleeve Robertson, said they were called to the scene just after 6 pm.

According to Robertson, eyewitnesses were on the mountain as the cable car operates until 9 pm.

Witnesses said the man took off his backpack, stretched out his arms and jumped.

“When we got there the body was lying about 80 metres below the cableway. It was a significant fall with no likelihood of surviving and the rescue operation was completed at about 10 pm.

“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 yesterday 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,” 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.

Chairperson of the Amber Valley trustees Ian White said they had a fine working relationship with Taylor and his contribution to the construction of many establishments in the area will be remembered.

Democratic Alliance uMngeni councillor Tim Lindsay-White said Taylor’s death was a tragedy, considering the enormous contribution he made to the economic development of the KwaZulu-Natal midlands, through the massive Amber developments in Howick.

Lindsay-White had recently written about this contribution in the Amber Valley News.

According to Lindsay-White, the developments increased the rates base of the local municipality by over R1 million a month, boos­ted the local economy by over R10 million and provided employment to thousands of people in the area.

“After his father’s [Ian] retirement Rob carried on with the developments and there were at least two other major projects on the cards — Amber Lee and Amber Ridge. We must not let the tragic circumstances of his death overshadow the enormous contribution he made,” said Lindsay-White.

ROB Taylor, the son of Ian Taylor who has since moved to New Zealand, was a qualified accountant, but spent much of his time developing properties.

He lived in Hilton, but had spent time in Cape Town.

His father developed the Howick retirement villages Amberfield and Amberglen, leaving these to Rob when he moved to New Zealand.

Rob then developed Amber Valley and was also part of the Northway Mall and other developments.

He was known for his generosity to the needy.

In 2005, while there were hiccups in the development of Amber Valley, Taylor said in a letter to Howick Mayor Edward Dladla that he intended to use funds generated from the project to provide land for the squatters in the town and offered R400 000 to resolve the Mills Falls Bridge problem, referring to the informal settlement above the Howick Falls.

He also had a thing for fast cars and in 2006 he was fined R20 000 with R5 000 suspended after he was caught doing 207 km/h in his R1,6 million Lamborghini Diablo. He reportedly offered to let the traffic officers drive the car to “punish himself”.

Last year he made headlines when he gave his new Audi R8 5,2, worth more than R2 million, to eight car guards at the Table Mountain cable station.

The eight are no longer working at the mountain, guards there said yesterday. They sold the car for R1,4 million in July and have since left the country.

Taylor gave them the car on condition they use it to help others. They cut a slot in the car’s bonnet and encouraged donations, which were used to aid a crèche on the Cape Flats.

— Witness Reporters.

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