Joburg elevator crash: Victim planning to take legal route for compensation

2019-07-01 12:40
120 End Street high-rise building in Doornfontein in Johannesburg, where a lift claimed the life of a tenant

120 End Street high-rise building in Doornfontein in Johannesburg, where a lift claimed the life of a tenant (Ntwaagae Seleka, News24)

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A man who was injured in a fatal lift incident in a Johannesburg building says he is planning to "take the legal route" for compensation.

Zwelethu Mambane told News24 that he had not been able to run his advertising and PR business since his traumatic ordeal at the 120 End Street high-rise building in Doornfontein last Sunday afternoon.

While recovering at home, he has had to cancel meetings with clients.

Mambane had been in a lift with a woman and when they got to the ground floor, "the doors opened and, before we could get out, the lift shot up while the doors were opened and came to a stop on the 26th floor".

He said he and the woman collapsed and after a couple of minutes, after realising what had happened, he noticed the woman was bleeding and screaming: "I'm dying, I'm dying!"

The woman, believed to be in her 40s, later succumbed to her injuries after she became trapped in the lift.

Mambane can't move with the ease that he's used to due to injuries to his head, chest and back.

He recalls waiting for an ambulance in the reception area of the building, after crawling free through the remaining gap between the top of the interior door and bottom of the lift door.

It was busy, he recalls. From there, Mambane made his way to hospital where he says he received poor medical attention.

"Because of how much pain I was in, I was in a wheelchair when I saw the doctor who gave me Panado tablets and told me to be on my way."

"I couldn't sleep properly on Sunday and, on Monday, my wife and I went to see a general practitioner (GP)."

elevator death graphic

According to Mambane, after the GP saw him, he received medication and was told to return later because "the GP suspects that there may be bleeding in my brain".

He said representatives from the building corporate marketing team have visited him a few times and offered to provide counselling and to assist with his medical expenses. 

"They asked if I am open for them to help me through counselling. I said to them I need to first speak to my legal team."

After explaining that he had already gone to the doctor, they offered to assist with those bills, he said.

"They must understand that as much as I am getting help from them, it doesn't mean it is a settlement."

He was speaking to his lawyers about his options for compensation in terms of loss of income, as well as emotional and physical suffering.

"They are responsible for my safety in this building." 

On Friday, Africa Housing Company (AFCHO) spokesperson Nomfundo Mwelase told News24: "We as AFHCO have offered our support to the injured and will be meeting with him again later today to discuss that particular offer".

"Once the offer has been finalised and agreed on by both parties, we will be able to share the detail of it."

Asked for comment about Mambane's plans to take the legal route, she said: "We are in discussion with him regarding the subject as a whole."

Read more on:    johannesburg ­  |  accidents
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