Michael Komape case heads to Supreme Court of Appeal

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The case against the Department of Basic Education brought by Michael Komape’s family following his death in 2014 will be heard by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein on Monday.

This, after the Limpopo High Court in Polokwane dismissed claims by his family who was seeking damages from the government for grief caused by his death. Michael died after drowning when a pit latrine at Mehlodumela primary school outside Polokwane collapsed whilst he was using it.

The 5-year-old boy was a grade R pupil. His family had opened a case against the department and claimed more than R2 million for compensation. The Komape family is appealing sections of the High Court judgment, which dismissed some of their claims.

In the civil claim, launched against the department, the family sought compensation for emotional trauma and shock experienced as a result of his death, and R2 million for grief.

Other claims related to past and future medical expenses for the family as well as funeral expenses and loss of earnings in respect of the mother who had to stop working when her child died.

Judge Gerrit Muller of the Polokwane High Court dismissed the claim for emotional shock and trauma as well as the claim for R2 million in damages for grief and instead awarded R6 000 to each of Komape’s siblings for medical expenses.

Advocacy groups, Section 27 and Equal Education, have from the get go shown their support to the family and said the case remains deeply emotional for the family and hopes that SCA will see things differently.

Katleho Morapela / OFM News