While a township man has won a legal battle against bus company SA Roadlink for payment of R1 million, his memory will never be the same again after suffering a brain injury.
Nkosiyabo Shezi, 28, of Folweni Township, outside Durban, sued Roadlink after sustaining a brain injury when the bus he was travelling in crashed on the N3 near Liberty Midlands Mall on Christmas Eve in 2006.
Twelve people, including three children, died and 30 passengers were injured when the vehicle slammed into the supporting column of a bridge and overturned.
Yesterday, the Pietermaritzburg High Court ruled that the company compensate Shezi to the tune of R1m.
He had sustained traumatic brain injury, multiple compound fractures to his arms and legs, as well as lacerations and a dislocated spine.
Shezi had not been present in court because he could not come up with the taxi fare, but was delighted when an attorney from Afzal Akoo and Partners contacted him with the good news.
He said that since the crash, he had not been able to get a job and assisted his mother in her herbal shop in Joburg.
Shezi, who has no recollection of the accident, still suffers from pain at the site of the fractures. He also experiences pain on the right side of his head and has become forgetful.
According to a medical report, which was among the court documents, Shezi suffers psychological and neuropsychological abnormalities which are considered stable and permanent. His general intellectual capacity appears to have declined. The report added that Shezi was unlikely to be able to engage in further training or tertiary education.
“Mr Shezi’s memory difficulties make the acquisition of new skills, particularly abstract skills, highly unlikely,” said the report.
In September last year, Roadlink settled a similar civil claim with another passenger, Wellington Manana, arising out of the same incident.
Roadlink spokesman Nolin Padayachee could not comment, saying the court matter was only brought to his attention when he was contacted by The Mercury.
Speaking at his family home in Folweni yesterday, Shezi said he was glad the matter had been concluded.
“I do not want to complain a lot. I am delighted with the judge’s ruling,” he said with a big smile. “The money is alright and I am satisfied with it.”
Asked what he would do with the R1m, he said: “I will invest the money and open a car wash. I will give some of the money to my mother because she was there for me since the accident and throughout the hard times I faced.”
Shezi also welcomed the judge’s ruling that Roadlink pay his legal fees and the fees of the experts that testified in the case.
“I was worried because I did not know how much the lawyers would get from my settlement.”
He said the injuries he had sustained during the accident still affected him.
“My brain still hurts sometimes. I cannot walk long distances or stand up for long periods. I was unable to think correctly.”
The father of two (Lindo, seven and Ayanda, three) said he would also save money to ensure that his children received a good education.
“I could not finish matric after getting my girlfriend pregnant. I do not want that for my children. I want the best for my children, so I will use the money wisely so they go to college or university. I might go back to school myself because I need education.”