IN THE HIGH COURT OF LESOTHO In the matter
THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF QALABANE
L.E.C. PRIMARY SCHOOL MANAGER 1ST
DEFENDANT'MINA MOHLOMI 2ND DEFENDANT
Delivered by the Honourable Mr. Justice T. Monapathi on
the 6th day of September 1999
This was a judgement by default.
The Plaintiff in this case instituted action for damages
in a representative capacity, for his daughter Masello Kolane, who
pupil at Qalabane L.E.C. Primary School at the material time.
Although the Defendants entered appearance to defend and
filed their plea
later, they did not appear in Court on the trial date.
Consequently Plaintiff proceeded with his case and applied for
The 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 during a mathematics lesson.
The evidence of the girl was to the effect that she lost
sight of the eye as a result of that said assault. This was
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.
It was 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.
In assessing the grant of damages I took the following
factors into account. Firstly, the girl said she was in intense pain
for two months after sustaining the injury. Indeed the pain
afterwards diminished with the passage of time. Secondly, she was
for 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
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
to the extent that when people laughed in her presence, apparently
(objectively) innocendy, she becomes conscious of her disability
embarrassment. Her perception of herself will be affected in a
detrimental way because she has been severely disfigured for life.
In addition the girl said when she read she got tired
faster than others (I presumed) than she was previously capable of.
this constituted a severe loss of amenity and a deprivation
on her ability to learn and improve herself.
In order to perform the task of assessing general
damages which is often difficult I was referred by Mr. Mda to the
One was 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
about a month and his loss of sight had affected his work.
The Cape Provincial Division awarded him R9,700.00 for general
for shock, pain, suffering, discomfort, loss of amenities and
disfigurement. In an appeal by Defendants the Appellate Division made
its own assessment at R10,000.00.
The second authority referred to this Court was MTHEMBU
v MINISTER OF LAW AND ORDER (DCLD) 16/09/99, per Hugo J. quoted in
and Honey. 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
fact that the Plaintiff was now more vulnerable than before. If he
should damage his good eye he would be more seriously disabled.
contingency was taken into account and he was awarded R55,000.00 for
I took the view that the loss of use of a person's eye,
who was a growing girl was a serious injury warranting ample
Of course not to the extent of the inflated sum of
M1000,000.00 damage in the summons. In this I would be supported by
case (supra) the youth of the injured person
meant that the person would therefore bear the injury
longer as the last mentioned case emphasized.
I thought 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
which included the payments of M75.00 (Dr
Mokete) M50.30 (Queen Elizabeth II Hospital) and R510.00 (Pelonomi
I finally awarded costs of suit to the
T. Monapathi Judge
6th September, 1999
For the Plaintiff : Mr. Z. Mda For the Defendants :
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