Worker commits suicide over salary reductions
A frustrated hospital worker committed suicide when repeated questions over a prolonged salary reduction went unanswered.
Impoverished Simon Bogacu, 57, a security guard at Selebi-Phikwe hospital had fought a battle with his supervisors since May 2010 after an unexplained pay cut left him unable to support his wife and five children.
In a suicide note he named those he held responsible for his suffering, blaming them for his drastic action.
When Simon Bogacu’s decomposing body was found last Sunday, a suicide note explained that he had hung himself because no action had been taken over a pay cut dating back to May 2010.
For the last 19 months the 57-year-old government worker had apparently been living on P129 a month after deductions of P2800 were repeatedly taken from his salary.
According to the note found in his pocket he had long complained about the deductions, and each month he was promised that the situation would be corrected but nothing happened. He mentioned three supervisors by name, accusing them of ill treatment and claiming that they had not taken his case seriously.
According to one of his colleagues, Simon was last seen on Friday morning coming out of his supervisor’s office crying. “He looked troubled, but did not stop to talk to anyone. The problem is that those officers are much younger than us, but the way they talk to us is not good. They use abusive language,’’ the colleague said.
Simon had not been involved in the industrial workers work strike, and had worked overtime in a bid to increase his earnings, but even that had not been reflected in his wages.
He instructed his family to take his money from his immediate boss, and in a note said, “They are saying my case will only be heard next year January 2012. Please collect my money that dates back to May 2010. My problem is with the officers.”
Simon’s distraught wife Mpho Bogacu in mourning at the family home said: “Life has been tough these last months since my husband had no money. We have five children and they are not working so living on a paltry salary was weighing heavily on us.
“Simon told me once about the payments issue, but when it continued he started to withdraw and just kept quiet.”
The last time the family saw their father was on a Friday when he went for work but never returned. ”We got worried when he did not return on Saturday and Sunday. We searched for him until the police came and told us that his decomposed remains were found at in the bushes by the industrial area,” Mpho said.
When The Voice visited the hospital to talk to the hospital manager Abedinico Mafhoko, angry industrial workers were queuing outside his office,
‘”These guys are frustrating us. I have not been paid for six months and was not even on strike. They are refusing to pay us overtime. If they don’t pay me I might also take Simon’s way,’’ said a lady who identified herself as Ntshesebe.
Most workers were seen coming out of the office hurling insults and complaining that their superiors were mistreating them.
The hospital manager referred enquires over the incident to the Public Relations Officer Obakeng Sokube, who could only confirm the death.
‘’Yes one of our colleagues committed suicide, but we don’t know the motive. The people you are saying are mentioned in the suicide notes are employees here,’’ he said.
Sokube said that further information could be sourced from hospital superintendent Dr Sharma, who was not available in his office to comment at the time of going to press.
Simon was buried on Wednesday in Selebi-Phikwe.