R23m damages for playground injury

Pretoria - The Gauteng MEC for education has been ordered by the North Gauteng High Court to pay R23.5m in damages to a judge's son, The Star reported on Thursday.

Christian Rabie, 23, suffered various injuries when he fractured his skull during a school playground game 10 years ago, when he was in Grade 8.

KwaZulu-Natal Judge Piet Koen was called to adjudicate over how much damages should be awarded to Rabie.

He was awarded R20.2m for loss of income and earning capacity, R800 000 in general damages, R787 386 towards future medical expenses and an amount of R1.6m as a 7.5% add-on for the cost of protecting the award, according to the report.

The judge ordered that a trust fund be established to administer the money.

The son of North Gauteng High Court Judge Pierre Rabie, he was hurt in a game where older boys flipped the younger ones into the air in a cricket net. He was tossed into the air and fell to the ground during a break on 31 July 2003. He spent six weeks in intensive care and was on a ventilator for 45 days.

The court had earlier ruled that the department of education was liable for damages, as the school had a duty to supervise pupils and ensure they did not engage in dangerous activities.

The department in 2008 appealed against the ruling that it was held 100% liable for his damages, but five years ago the court turned down the appeal and said he lacked the maturity to realise he could be injured.

He is now a law student at the University of SA, but experts testified that he had lost some of his intellectual abilities as a result of his injuries.

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