16/04/2012 Just you and the tracks. An ideal thinking spot.The high grass covers you. Nobody is watching.Sit on those tracks. There are no angry drivers to shout at you. No pedastrians to push you out of the way or stomp on your toes. No train to complete your suicide attempt. So go ahead, indulge in those inner thoughts. Picture: Oupa Mokoena

Pretoria - A young Pretoria man whose dream of becoming a soldier was shattered when he was in a train accident, leaving him with a deformed arm, is to receive more than R3.8 million from the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa).

The rail agency accepted liability for the accident on April 8, 2011, when Tobias Katlego Maluleka was 17.

He was travelling to the Wonderboom Mall by train when it was hit from behind near Akasia station.

Maluleka testified earlier that he was standing in the train when he felt the impact. He fell to the floor and lost consciousness. He woke up in hospital where he was treated for injuries to his head and arm. He remained in hospital for three weeks.

Prasa agreed earlier to pay Maluleka R160 000 for future medical expenses and R280 000 for general damages. Judge Cynthia Pretorius had to decide how much he should receive for future loss of income, as Prasa could not agree on an amount.

Maluleka said he could not carry heavy objects. His arm was deformed – a so-called gunstock deformity.

He told the court he was ashamed of his deformity.

He could not complete matric as he could no longer do garden work which paid for his schooling. He also could not cope with his studies after the accident.

Maluleka said he had always wanted to become a soldier, but because of the physical requirements he would not be able to.

He is unemployed at present.

Doctors testified that with the deformity of his left elbow, he was unable to carry heavy objects, so his employment prospects were limited to light work.

Prasa called an expert who said Maluleka was dyslexic and would not have become a soldier.

Judge Pretorius dismissed this evidence, as the expert could not explain why his scholastic performance deteriorated after the accident.

Judge Pretorius said Maluleka was a young man left with limited career opportunities. She ordered that Prasa pay him R3.6m for future loss of earnings in addition to the medical and general damages earlier agreed on. The money would be held in trust.

Pretoria News