Victim tries to sue police minister after lover shoots her in face
Cape Town - The Constitutional Court (Concourt) has dismissed an application for a constitutional review of a Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) decision that found in favour of police after a woman sued police for damages. The case stems from an incident in which her police boyfriend shot her in the face before ending his own life.

Port Elizabeth woman, Elsa Booysen, was shot in the face by her deceased boyfriend, Johannes Mongo, an on-duty constable reservist employed by the SAPS. Subsequent, to pointing the gun at Booysen at dinner Mongo turned the weapon on himself, committing suicide.

The incident occurred on March 22, 2013. Mongo was dressed in police uniform and had been dropped by a marked police van at Booysen’s home.

In an application to the Grahamstown High Court, Booysen alleged because Mongo was on duty and used a work firearm, his employer, the minister of police, should be held liable for damages she suffered.

The minister of police argued that both parties did not foresee the actions of Mongo and that he had acted on his own.

“The deceased was on a private visit to his lover’s home to have supper. He was not there in his capacity as a police officer and he had no official police function to perform.

“The visit was purely social during the time he was permitted to be away from the police station for a meal break,” read the defence papers.

The High Court ruled in favour of Booysen, but that ruling was short-lived when the minister escalated the matter by appealing it at the SCA.

On Wednesday, the Concourt said it had no jurisdiction over the matter. The Concourt ruled that for jurisdiction to be engaged there must be evidence that the matter was a constitutional issue or a point of law of general importance.

“The application for leave to appeal is refused. This outcome should not be perceived to detract from this court’s grave concern about the abuse of official firearms by police officers, which has proven to be a pervasive issue in our country,” the Concourt ruled.

The SCA’s ruling found that there was no link between Mongo’s employment and his actions.

The SCA judgment found that Booysen did not have trust in the deceased because of the job he had as reservist.

“There was no situation which called upon the deceased to act as a police officer at the applicant’s home,” the SCA court ruled.


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Cape Argus