Pretoria - The father of a child who sustained injuries as a 5-year-old in 2016, after falling into a hole allegedly dug by Eskom outside his Mpumalanga school, is claiming R2 million from the power utility.
Victor Ngobeni instituted the damages claim in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, on behalf of his son Thabiso.
In his particulars of the claim, Ngobeni said his son was barely 5 when he landed in an 8m hole. According to him, the hole was dug by Eskom employees outside the Dipere Primary School in Bamokgoko, in Mpumalanga.
It is stated in the court papers that the school bus driver who was nearby managed to free the child from the hole.
The father said his child was unconscious at the time, but the bus driver carried his son to the principal’s office.
The little boy was taken to a hospital where it was established that apart from a scar on his forehead, he did not suffer any further injuries.
Eskom, however, disputed these details and said nowhere did the father state in the summons to Eskom, exactly what injuries the child had suffered. Yet, Eskom said, the father was claiming R2m.
Eskom wanted the court to strike the summons down due what it called these deficiencies.
The father, in his summons, calculated the R2m as R5 000 for past medical expenses and R490 000 for future medical expenses. He claimed a further R500 000 for “future loss of earning” and finally another R1m for “pain and suffering and loss of amenities of life and disability”.
The father said Eskom, by digging a hole right in front of the school and leaving it open, should have known that it could pose a danger to the children.
Eskom noted four objections to the particulars of the claim, which included that Ngobeni did not supply any particulars of the workers who he claimed, had dug the hole.
It further said the father could not grab any amount to claim out of the air, but he had to actually state as to how he had derived the sum of R2m.
Judge Norman Davis rejected the first objection and said at this stage, the father probably did not know exactly who had dug the hole, other than he claimed it was Eskom workers.
Regarding the amount of damages which Ngobeni claimed, the judge granted this objection by Eskom. He said Ngobeni must at least substantiate the amounts he claimed he was owed and he must thus go back to the drawing board.
The court also upheld an objection by Eskom that the father was vague about his child’s injuries. He said more detail, substantiated by medical reports, was necessary in order for Eskom to plead to the allegations against it.