High Court Punishes Council For Using Spikes, Awards Injured Man $35 000 Plus R138 256

In a ruling which will be welcomed by the general public, Harare High Court judge Justice Pisirai Kwenda has ordered the City of Harare to pay $35 000 plus R138 256 to a Harare man who was injured by a commuter omnibus which was attempting to evade spikes.

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As a result of the accident which occurred in March 2013, the pedestrian Phinias Mashoko had to have his leg amputated. He was on his way to write his examinations at the Harare Polytechnic College.

Justice Kwenda also found the owner of the commuter omnibus, Nyasha Mavhimira, liable for causing the accident. In passing judgement, Justice Kwenda rapped both the driver and the municipal officers for causing the accident. He is quoted by NewsDay as saying,

The third defendants [City of Harare] officers, under the charge of Michael Bota, were grossly negligent in engaging in a speed chase with a commuter omnibus driver [Sabau], who was determined to escape. They were negligent in throwing a spike.

A reasonable driver would have submitted to arrest. A reasonable driver would have foreseen the danger posed to pedestrians and people on the pavements by taking off at high speed and swerving to evade a spike.

…The chain of events and causal effect of the defendants’ conduct are so interlinked with each other that it is futile to try and disentangle them. They can only be jointly and severally liable.

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