Bus victims pursue class damages

EIGHTEEN passengers injured when a PCJ bus they were travelling in overturned just after the Shangani business centre on April 6 have instituted legal action against the operator claiming damages which could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars.

RICHARD MUPONDE
SENIOR COURT REPORTER

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The bus was travelling from Francistown in Botswana and was en route to Harare when it overturned at around 1am just after the Shangani business centre about 102km along the Bulawayo-Harare Highway.

However, the quantity of the damages has not been calculated as the victims’ degrees of injuries and medical expenses have not yet been accessed.

Idah Kaitano (31), who lost her left arm and two fingers from the right hand, is acting on behalf of 17 other injured passengers and has filed an application at the Bulawayo High Court through her lawyer Vonani Majoko of Majoko and Majoko Legal Practitioners for leave to institute a class action against the bus operator in terms of the Class Actions Act.

The High Court is yet to decide whether to allow them to file a class action and to deal with their claims as one.

Section (3) of the Class Actions Act gives the High Court permission to grant leave to any person to act on behalf of any class of people like what Kaitano intends to do.

“(1) Subject to this section, the High Court may on application grant leave for the institution of a class action on behalf of any class of person. (2) (a) May be made by any person, whether or not he is a member of the class of persons concerned, and (b) shall be made in the form and manner prescribed in rules of court,” the section reads.

Majoko has already written to PCJ proprietors in Botswana advising them of the intention of claiming damages on behalf of the 18 accident victims.

Kaitano’s lost left arm has not been found.

Passengers in the PCJ bus said they suspected the driver fell asleep.

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