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Mom battles to get justice for injured son

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RAF story

INLSA

Shadrack Sekotlong and his grandfather, Shadrack Sekotlong senior, in their home in Diepkloof, Soweto. Shadrack junior has had brain damage since birth. His mom was hit by a car while she was pregnant with him, and she is still battling for compensation. Pictures: Boxer Ngwenya

Johannesburg - Shadrack Sekotlong is 26 years old but he has the mental capacity of a two-year-old.

His mother, Dikeledi Sekotlong, was involved in a car accident while pregnant with him.

And now, the son who Sekotlong had hoped would become a magistrate has been experiencing epileptic fits, has cerebral palsy and has suffered brain damage.

She has revised her dreams for her son. Small things, such as going to the toilet without assistance or eating without help, mean a lot.

Sekotlong had to stop working because Shadrack needs full-time care. She has to bathe, dress, feed and help him in the toilet.

She shares her bedroom with her son because she is “constantly potty-training” him.

Sekotlong says she has made peace with her son’s condition, but her anger towards the Road Accident Fund is overwhelming.

She can’t mention the agency’s name without raising her voice or crying.

Her battle with the RAF is as old as her son. She has been counselled to forget about it, seek counselling and move on with her life.

But she is unable to move on.

Sekotlong was five months pregnant and on her way to work when a car slammed into her.

“I got a lawyer to represent me in January 1986, just after my son was born. The lawyer told me that the RAF (then known as MVA - motor vehicle accident) paid out R1 000. He wrote me a cheque for R725. He said he charged R275.”

But it didn’t end there. The lawyer referred her to a doctor for her son to be medically examined.

When the results came, Sekotlong’s lawyer told her to forget about the case. “He said he would give me R50 000 to walk away.”

She reported the lawyer to the Law Society of SA and found another lawyer. Her relationship with that lawyer also soured.

“I decided to deal with the RAF directly, but I only got attitude problems. My case has been transferred to at least four people within the agency and no one can give me answers,” she said, wiping away tears.

She has escalated her case to the Presidential Hotline, the Human Rights Commission and the Public Protector.

The RAF failed to respond to questions posed by The Star several days ago.

ntombi.ndhlovu@inl.co.za

The Star


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