R1,6 mln claim for fall

2019-06-20 15:29
Gavel and scales

Gavel and scales

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An Ashburton man who fell down a flight of stairs that had no railings at the SAPS stolen vehicle pound in Mkondeni, is claiming R1,6 million in damages.

Leslie Charles Maker’s matter came before the Pietermaritzburg high court on Wednesday and was adjourned.

The claim said that on November 30, 2016, Maker — a professional engineer — visited the pound. The reason has not been disclosed in the court papers.

The building was occupied by the state and in particular the SAPS and/or Department of Public Works.

At the pound, Maker was instructed by an employee working there to enter the premises via an outside uncovered stairway, which he did. While climbing the flight of stairs, he became unsteady and fell down the stairs. At the time, the stairs had no hand rails fitted. Because there were none, he was unable to stop his fall.

It is being alleged in the court papers that Maker’s fall and injuries were caused by the negligence of either the minister of Safety and Security or the minister of Public Works. This is because they failed to ensure that there were handrails situated on the staircase for users to hold on to, particularly if they became unsteady.

In addition, the ministers failed to comply with health and safety regulations requiring that staircases used by the public, such as this one, be fitted with hand rails.

Maker fractured and dislocated his left wrist. He also hit his head on the ground. He was admitted and treated at Mediclinic Hospital where the wound was “washed out and internally fixed”.

He says he suffered severe pain at the time and continues to suffer. Maker had to wear a wrist brace and attend physiotherapy. Also, he sustained stiffness of his wrist which will persist and get worse in the future.

As a consequences of these injuries, Maker has suffered a loss of earnings. He is unable to continue his business of reconditioning and selling mechanical equipment. He has also incurred medical expenses and will continue to do so. “He is likely to develop post-traumatic arthritis in the wrist with further complications of stiffness and pain and further operations,” said the papers.

The case is being opposed.

Wednesday’s application was for an order compelling the ministers to produce documentary information which Maker’s legal team needs to prepare for the case. Attorney Aveena Surujbally said in court papers that the ministers say that the property was leased to the minister of Public Works by an entity referred to as “Minoquad Property Investments” and that it was the duty of the lessor to comply with all the relevant safety regulations. She said when summons was issued in this matter, Maker was unaware of this and did not join the entity in the application.

Surujbally said Maker has requested copies of all lease agreements signed and entered into between the parties. However, the ministers did not respond.

The case was adjourned for the ministers to file papers.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  court case
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