"Bankrupt" Prasa to Pay Cape Town Schoolboy R3.5 Million in Damages, Judge Slams Railway for Negligence

"Bankrupt" Prasa to Pay Cape Town Schoolboy R3.5 Million in Damages, Judge Slams Railway for Negligence

  • State railway company Prasa has been ordered to pay R3.5 million in damages to a Cape Town schoolboy after a freak accident four years ago
  • The passenger fell out of a moving train and lost consciousness after being hit by a rock thrown through the locomotive's door
  • Acting Judge Pangarker was horrified by the fact that it took five hours for security guards to inspect the scene after they were alerted to the accident

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Old and new Prasa trains at a Park Station platform
A Cape Town schoolboy has won R3.5 million in claims against Prasa for injuries sustained in 2019. Image: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

CAPE TOWN - Siyamthanda Maphela, who was a 17-year-old schoolboy in 2019, has been awarded R3.5 million in claims against the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa).

Maphela was on his way home with a friend, Aphelele Tsibiyani, from school in Mowbray when a rock struck him on the head as he stood on the door of a crowded moving train.

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TimesLIVE reports in Maphela's court judgement at the Western Cape High Court, he details how Siyamthanda recalls how full the carriage was so he stood at the door facing outside as he had no room to sit:

"While en route, the plaintiff felt something striking or hitting the right side of his forehead. He does not know what struck him. He regained consciousness in Groote Schuur Hospital."

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Siyamthanda only got to know about his ordeal, narrated by Aphelele, after he was discharged

Tsibinyani told the court that he saw stones being thrown at the train and the next minute his friend had fallen off the train. Waiting for the next stop to get off, he ran in the opposite direction of the tracks where he found his unconscious friend bleeding from the forehead.

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The teenager suffered a right frontal decompressed fracture of the skull and blunt trauma injuries to his body. He did not complete the remainder of his academic year.

Prasa witness testifies that an anonymous call was received reporting a sighting of a body on the tracks

Prasa private investigator Thando Klass confirmed that an occurrence book indicated that at 4.16pm on 1 March 2019 the anonymous call was placed:

"The further entry at 9.05pm under the same serial number recorded that security officers were sent to investigate between the two stations and had not found any person lying next to the railway tracks.”

IOL reports on how acting Judge Mas-udah Pangarker was appalled at how Prasa employees treated the situation:

“A young learner fell from a train and the disquieting lack of care and interest in the safety of commuters such as the plaintiff continued.
“This conduct is shocking as I wonder what would have happened to the plaintiff had he been travelling without being accompanied by Mr Tsibiyani, who had the concern and foresight to run back to the railway tracks once he realised that his friend was no longer in the train,” she said."

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Maphela’s claim on the merits was upheld, Prasa was 100% liable for his proven damages and was ordered to pay all his legal costs.

Prasa spokesperson Andiswa Makanda said the company will be able to comment once the legal department had a chance to study the verdict.

Meanwhile, South Africans wondered how the financially strapped entity would payout the claim:

@Skilliepieterse asked:

"PRASA is bankrupt, how will they pay, all their money was stolen by the ANC comrades?"

@gareth22583

"How do you fall off if you are supposed to be inside sitting or standing away from the door? Then again, Prasa has never had enough trains so guess the train was overfull like normal."

Calls to move freight back onto railway other than roads

According to another Briefly News report, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula is supporting the growing call to return freight back on the railway from roads to improve safety, save money and protect the environment.

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In the report, several African countries were working together with Transnet Freight Rail to open rail lines that will allow heavy-haul trains to operate import and export trading.

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Source: Briefly News

Authors:
Molebogeng Seemela avatar

Molebogeng Seemela (Entertainment Editor) Molebogeng Seemela is a journalist and a current affairs reporter for Briefly News (joined in 2023) with over 10 years of experience. She obtained her National Diploma in 2013, and Bachelor of Technology in 2014 at TUT, majoring in Editorial Management. Specialist Reporting: Print, Features and Reviews; Advanced Reporting; and Advanced Editing and Design for Print. She has been a freelance journalist for several years but cemented her place as a reporter with the SABC, and Cosmopolitan SA.

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