Danster’s mother deserves no compensation – Moroka


LOBATSE: An attorney representing De Beers resident director and chairperson of Vision 2036 presidential task team, Neo Moroka, in a lawsuit where Margaret Danster, the mother of Kealeboga Danster, the 18-year-old farm worker who was allegedly shot dead by Moroka last year, has argued that the claim for compensation by Danster’s family has no foundation since the future of their child was not known to anyone.

Moroka allegedly shot dead Kealeboga Danster on April 22, 2014 at Makopong farm. Moroka admitted to killing Kealeboga but indicated that it was an accident as he intended to shoot a dog.

The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) withdrew the matter in September last year due to ‘insufficient evidence to prosecute’.

Whilst Kgosietsile Ngakayagae, who represented Moroka and Letlhogonolo Makgane who represented Danster’s family were at heads with legal technicalities, Moroka and Margaret Danster were not in court.

Ngakayagae said no one knows the possibility of what Kealeboga could have become in life.

“We are of the view that no one knows the possibility of what the young man could have become in life, it is not known to both the applicants and the respondent, and it could have been our best shot if we could have known. We don’t know if his mother was the one who was going to end up supporting him or him supporting his mother, it is our view that the claim application be downed.” Ngakayagae said.

Makgane, however argued that the compensation claim is valid as Kealeboga’s life was cut short and his mother was to benefit from the prospective support that the child could have offered at a later stage.

“This is a very unique case which has never been done within this jurisdiction; a parent has remedy in claiming support for shortening the life expectancy on a child. We have a number of authorities in the world where there is action for loss of prospective support.

In simplistic terms you raise a child with an expectation that they will pay you back at a later stage of life, this maybe through the child offering support to you as a parent who raised them. In this case the deceased’s mother has lost future support,” Makgane said.

Danster’s family indicated that they want to be compensated for the damages caused by the loss of their son on April 22 last year.

The deceased’s mother wants to be compensated with P1 million on the basis of the loss of her son’s life and P1 million for loss of her son’s prospective support.

However Ngakanyagae argued that the claim has not been done on the basis of law and therefore argued that it should be collapsed. Ngakayagae said there is no law that allows one to be compensated for the life of another.

“We made a counter application against the applicants claim looking at the circumstances of the case. The mother of the deceased wants to be compensated for the life of her son. The mother of the deceased person argues that it was cut short and that she had anticipated support from her child in the future. We have indicated that there is no such law that allows that. One cannot be compensated for the life of another rather one can be compensated in circumstances where one’s life expectancy was cut short,” Ngakayagae said.

Ngakayagae, who initially opted for postponement of the argument, said the causes of action in the applicant’s position are too ‘prompt’. He further said law could be in turmoil if the claim could be granted.

“Causes of action in these circumstances are too prompt, you cannot say my child was shot and died therefore I want to be compensated but rather you can say ‘my child has been supporting me and he was shot therefore I want compensation.

“The law can be in turmoil if individuals can be compensated for the lives of others. If that is to happen then we will see other people accelerating other people’s deaths for the sake of being compensated.

The deceased mother’s statement reads: “My son was only 18-years-old when he was shot. I was hoping he could earn money and take care of me,” this statement means that the son was not taking care of her when he died but rather she anticipated that the child would take care of her in the future.

“The applicant must indicate how she lost the anticipated support; we are of the view that both prompts and categories do not disclose valid cause of action on the basis of law. Maybe the damages could be emotional matters in relation to the loss of the child’s life of which also will need to be justified. There is absolutely no cause of action therefore there will be no basis of granting a default judgement in this matter,” he said.

Makgane on the other hand told the court that his client qualifies to be compensated since someone cannot walk away free from a criminal case and civil case.

 “If we say the victim can only be compensated in a case where their life expectancy would be cut short, that means there will be no civil case when a victim loses their  life and the killer will walk free.

Are we saying that the killer can walk away from a criminal case and a civil case?” Makgane said.

Ngakayagae argued that no parent has the right to be supported by their child but rather it is a social obligation.

“In common law no parent has a right to be supported by their children except in a situation where a parent is totally destitute and the child is working.

This cause of action has no reference in common law and it should be noted that support given is a social obligation.

This is a totally ill-advised application but we don’t undermine the loss of life and the emotional sphere that the family might have gone through,” Ngakayagae said.

The parties will appear before Lobatse High Court judge Justice Nthomiwa for ruling on April 22 next year.

Danster’s family is yet to file a supplementary affidavit before Lobatse High Court prior to next year’s argument on whether Moroka has a case to answer or not.

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