HIGH COURT OF LESOTHO
OF GOVERNORS OF QALABANE
PRIMARY SCHOOL MANAGER 1ST DEFENDANT
MOHLOMI 2ND DEFENDANT
by the Honourable Mr. Justice T. Monapathi on the 6th day of
a judgement by default.
Plaintiff in this case instituted action for damages in a
representative capacity, for his daughter Masello Kolane, who was
pupil at Qalabane L.E.C. Primary School at the material time.
the Defendants entered appearance to defend and filed their plea
they did not appear in Court on the trial date. Consequently
Plaintiff proceeded with his case and applied for default judgment.
pleadings and evidence disclosed that on the 29th April 1993 the
Plaintiff's daughter who was bom on the 24th August 1982, sustained
an injury on the right eye. She was at school. The injury resulted
from a beating with a stick by Second Defendant, her teacher
evidence of the girl was to the effect that she lost sight of the eye
as a result of that said assault. This was corroborated
by a medical
certificate issued by Dr. M. Mokete on the 10th March 1998 (marked
exhibit "A"). The certificate showed
that the damage to the
eye was permanent.
established that the Second Defendant was a teacher at the relevant
time was undeniably in the employ of the 1st Defendant
as a teacher
and was at all material time acting within the scope and course of
her employment as such.
assessing the grant of damages I took the following factors into
account. Firstly, the girl said she was in intense pain at least
two months after sustaining the injury. Indeed the pain afterwards
diminished with the passage of time. Secondly, she was disfigured
life. She lost the use of the eye and has been using a prosthesis
ever since around the year of injury. The loss of an eye
as I have
agreed does affect the self esteem and all things that have to do
with a developing personality as a girl of that age.
This was to the
extent that when people laughed in her presence, apparently
(objectively) innocendy, she becomes conscious of her
embarrassment. Her perception of herself will be affected in a
detrimental way because she has been severely disfigured
addition the girl said when she read she got tired faster than others
(I presumed) than she was previously capable of. No doubt
constituted a severe loss of amenity and a deprivation on her ability
to learn and improve herself.
to perform the task of assessing general damages which is often
difficult I was referred by Mr. Mda to the following cases.
AA ODERLINGE vs ASSURANSIE, ASSOCIASIE BPK vs SODOMS 1980 (3) SA 134.
There a farm labourer aged 26 at the time of the
motor collision had
lost the sight of his right eye. He had intense pain for about a
month and his loss of sight had affected his
work. The Cape
Provincial Division awarded him R9,700.00 for general damages for
shock, pain, suffering, discomfort, loss of amenities
disfigurement. In an appeal by Defendants the Appellate Division made
its own assessment at R10,000.00.
second authority referred to this Court was MTHEMBU v MINISTER OF LAW
AND ORDER (DCLD) 16/09/99, per Hugo J. quoted in Cobett
THE QUANTUM OF DAMAGES IN BODILY AND FATAL INJURY CASES Vol. IV pages
13 - 23-3. In that case Plaintiff lost vision
in his right eye which
was completely and permanently destroyed by a shotgun pellet fired by
a policeman. The Court took into account
the fact that the Plaintiff
was now more vulnerable than before. If he should damage his good eye
he would be more seriously disabled.
This contingency was taken into
account and he was awarded R55,000.00 for general damages.
the view that the loss of use of a person's eye, who was a growing
girl was a serious injury warranting ample compensation.
not to the extent of the inflated sum of M1000,000.00 damage in the
summons. In this I would be supported by AA ONDERLINGE
the youth of the injured person
that the person would therefore bear the injury longer as the last
mentioned case emphasized.
an amount of damages in the sum M60,000.00 (Sixty Thousand Maloti)
would meet the nature of the whole circumstances of
the case as
adequate compensation. In addition I awarded M1,132.00 for specific
damages associated with medial expenses and transport
the payments of M75.00 (Dr Mokete) M50.30 (Queen Elizabeth II
Hospital) and R510.00 (Pelonomi Hospital, Bloemfontein).
awarded costs of suit to the Plaintiff.
Plaintiff : Mr. Z. Mda
Defendants : No appearance
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