Radio presenter dies in suicide pact
Johannesburg - One of two employees of Radiokansel who made a suicide pact committed suicide at the weekend after the other did not want to go through with it.
"Sorry to everyone. I'm done with life, don't call anymore please," read the last SMS that Josie Raath, presenter on Radiokansel and director of the station's Goeie Nuus Tyd and Spektrum programmes, sent to his loved one on Saturday before he presumably overdosed on pills.
Raath, 48, suffered from depression. His body was found early on Sunday in a guesthouse in Margate, KwaZulu-Natal. He worked for Radiokansel for the last five years.
The other member of the pact was Christa Petersen Johnson, daughter of Dr Roelf Petersen, CEO of the station. According to a statement from Radiokansel, she withdrew herself from the pact on Friday.
Radiokansel's communications manager Marthie Duvenage confirmed in the statement that Raath and Johnson wanted to commit suicide together.
Johnson declined to comment on Monday.
Raath resigned last Monday via SMS. According to Duvenage, Raath gave no reasons for his resignation.
She said Radiokansel's management is still in the dark about the reasons for Raath's actions.
"Some of his colleagues and friends believe that the recent disintegration of his engagement was the main reason," said Duvenage.
According to an article that appeared in Sondag newspaper Raath said Radiokansel "stole his love for Jesus". He expressed his dissatisfaction about nepotism at the station.
"I will take my own life. Radiokansel destroyed the Jesus I know with nepotism, corruption and hypocrisy," he said, according to the article.
Duvenage, however, said that each staff member is appointed according to a strict employment policy and on merit, regardless of whether the applicant has family at the radio station.
Raath also said in the article that it's not only Radiokansel who drove him to suicide, but also a woman named Katryn le Roux.
According to Duvenage, Raath has had a long history of emotional problems, which affected his relationships inside and outside the work environment.
Ina Snyman, a longtime friend of Raath, was one of the last people to speak to Raath.
"He phoned me around 18:30 on Saturday and informed me that he is going to take his own life," said Snyman.
"He was very depressed and didn't want to continue with the hardships of this life."
Raath is survived by his three children.