130404-cape town-Drukkes Swanepoel has been hospital for more than 2 weeks after scaffolding collapsed on him and his wife at the waterfront. PHOTOGRAPHER: RYAN JACOBS

Cape Town - A Namibian who has been in and out of hospital for more than year since he and his wife were injured when scaffolding collapsed at the V&A Waterfront is preparing to sue the Absa Cape Epic and the shopping complex.

Drikus Swanepoel, 29, said his injuries had cost him his business, he was unable to run his game farm effectively, and his medical bills had mounted to about R1.3 million.

The scaffolding, erected for registration for the Absa Cape Epic last year, collapsed, injuring Swanepoel and his wife, Danita, as they were visiting the Waterfront. The Cape Epic said it had received a letter of demand.

“We have received a letter of demand, which our attorneys are studying,” spokesman Chris Whitfield said.

“Naturally we will respond to it at the appropriate time in the appropriate forum. Our legal representatives were ready to progress to a settlement after this terrible incident, but Mr Swanepoel opted to take another route.”

V&A spokeswoman Carla White said: “We understand what a traumatic and unfortunate event this was. The V&A Waterfront has given Mr Swanepoel and his family substantial financial support and assistance.”

“Organisations like the V&A and the Cape Epic have public liability insurance and the V&A has made it clear on a number of occasions that a claim needs to be made by Mr Swanepoel for liability and compensation to be established. To date, no such claim has been forthcoming.”

Swanepoel, who is also a hunter, has been at Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital for almost a week. He is to have knee reconstruction surgery today. He said his legal team was to submit court papers in the next couple of weeks.

“We have been sending Cape Epic and the V&A Waterfront letters through our lawyer… they gave us a vague response.”

His legs, right knee and pelvis had been injured, Swanepoel said. He used crutches most of the time and was struggling to work.

“At the beginning we tried to talk with them, but none of them want to take responsibility. There is a continuation of costs because I have to come here and go back to my business.

“My business is badly affected because I no longer have time to walk tourists around (my game farm).

“We are going to sue the Cape Epic and the V&A Waterfront. I am suing them for my medical expenses which they have failed to pay. I am frustrated and negative because it has been almost a year and eight months and I haven’t heard anything from them.

“The V&A Waterfront provided us with accommodation (last year), but since then we haven’t heard anything from their side.”

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Cape Times