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Komape case heads to the Supreme Court

LIMPOPO – Judge Gerrit Muller of the Polokwane High Court on Tuesday dismissed the Komape family leave to appeal against his decision to grant them no compensation for the emotional trauma and shock they have experienced.

The family is claiming R780 000 from the government for the pain they suffered after their five-year-old son fell into a pit toilet and drowned in faeces at school, just a few days after he had started Grade R.

Muller, however, did grant the family leave to appeal their second claim in which they are asking for R2 million for constitutional damages. The Komape family with the help of SECTION27 filed for leave to appeal after their civil claim for R3-million was rejected by Judge Muller in April. Muller had ordered only that two of Michael’s younger siblings be paid a mere R6 000 each for general medical expenses.

While handing down the verdict on Tuesday Judge Muller he did not believe that another court of law will make a different finding. The appeal is now set to be filed at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.

Drowned in pit

Five-year-old Michael Komape fell and drowned inside a pit toilet during break time at Mahlodumela Primary School, outside Polokwane, four years ago. Michael’s older sister, Lydia Komape, said her family had been struggling to find closure with the case still dragging through the courts. The Komape family were absent from the court when the verdict was handed down on their application for an appeal on Tuesday.

“We are still going to sit down and discuss a way forward with SECTION27, but I am confident that the Supreme Court will give us the closure which we have been waiting for years. We will not stop fighting for justice for my brother. Justice will be served in Bloemfontein as we will come back there victorious, and we will find the closure we need,” said Lydia Komape.

The family recently claimed that the local community of Chebeng village, outside Polokwane were they reside had turned against them since learning about the original amount the family was claiming from the Department of Education. During the initial judgment in April, Judge Muller ordered the Department of Basic Education to provide a structural interdict to supply and install proper sanitation at all rural schools across Limpopo.

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