Minister ordered to compensate man who fell into uncovered storm drain

HARARE – A court has ordered the transport minister to pay a Chitungwiza man Z$500,000 and US$1,470 in special damages after he fell into an storm water drain without its cover, injuring his leg.

Shepherd Chishiri had just disembarked from a commuter omnibus on the evening of February 23, 2020, when he fell into the storm water drain near Mbudzi roundabout along Simon Mazorodze Road in Harare.

He broke his right leg and was forced to pay his own medical expenses.

He sued the transport minister at the Civil Court which found in his favour on Tuesday.

Mhona, through his lawyers from the Attorney General’s office, did not oppose Chishiri’s application which sailed through by default. He has an outstanding claim against the City of Harare.

The court ordered Mhona to pay Z$506,949 broken down as Z$200 000 in damages for pain and suffering, Z$250,000 being damages for future medical expenses, Z$50,000 for loss of social amenities in life and Z$6,949 being special damages for medical expenses incurred.

Mhona was also ordered to pay US$1,470 damages for expenses incurred in foreign currency.

Chishiri, who was being represented by Tinashe Chinopfukutwa of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), said he was walking roadside when he fell into the storm drain which was not covered.

“The storm water drain was unmarked and it was impossible for me to ascertain its existence,” he wrote in an affidavit. “I fell into the drain and had to hold onto the road surface for me to avoid falling completely into the drain.”

He broke his right leg in the ankle region, he said. An emergency operation was performed and two metal roads were inserted in his leg.

He said the injury caused him to hang up his boots as a social soccer player, and he now had difficulties driving for long periods.

Chishiri’s court success could open an avalanche of claims against local authorities and government departments whose negligence is blamed for causing accidents daily.

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