Motovac liable for screen wall injuries – court


FRANCISTOWN: Justice Kholisani Solo has ruled that Motovac (Pty) Ltd is liable for the injuries caused to Meshack James when the company’s screen wall collapsed on him.

The plaintiff’s claim was in the amount of P4,939,205, for pain and suffering, disability, loss of amenities of life, costs of gym, transport and future medical expenses and costs of suit.

“This court finds the defendant liable for the injuries to the plaintiff and accordingly plaintiff has proved his case on a balance of probabilities. Defendant to pay costs of this suit,” said Solo.

James was an employee of Trans World with a salary of P950 per month. He told the court that on March 29, 2010, he and a colleague were walking on a public road past Motovac at Light Industrial Site, when the wall fell over them severely injuring him and killing his colleague instantly. James averred in his statement that the injury he sustained was caused by the negligence of the defendant in one or more of the following respects; the defendant failed to build its screen wall in such a manner that it would not fall and cause injury to the public; that the defendant failed to maintain its screen wall; that the defendant failed or neglected to properly monitor its screen wall.In his declaration, James said he sustained injuries including broken legs, broken ribs, spinal cord, and pelvis injury, and he is now wheelchair-bound.

On the other hand, Motovac denied that the injury to James was caused by their negligence, nor that it failed to properly build the screen wall to acceptable standards.

Motovac denied that it failed to monitor or neglected to monitor its screen wall.

Solo said at the pre-trial meeting, the parties identified the main issues to be resolved at trial. These are, whether the defendant’s screen wall required safety standard of structures of its type, whether the path on which the plaintiff was walking at the time of the accident was a designated walkway or passage and whether the human passage via route was safe or allowed and whether the defendant’s screen wall structure was approved by the relevant council.

Solo added that there was no dispute as to whether a portion of the screen wall around the defendant’s premises had collapsed, and who was injured at the time.

He said that the applicant stated that they used a passage that passes by Motovac and it was raining.

At that moment he did not know what happened. When he came to his senses, he was in hospital and injured. He could not stand up. His back was broken, said the judge. According to Solo, James was rescued by hospital machines to stay alive for the nine months he spent in hospital during which he lost his job.

Solo narrated James testimony that on November 25, 2011, a certain Indian man and lady visited him in hospital, the man said he was the managing director of Motovac and that their wall fell on him.

Attorney Anthony Manenji represented the applicant while Minchin and Kelly legal practitioners represented the defendant.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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