Teen sues Zesa, wins $40k damages

A CHITUNGWIZA teenager, who sued the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) after suffering severe injuries due to exposure to high voltage electricity cables six years ago, has been awarded $40 000 in compensation by the High Court.

BY CHARLES LAITON

Frank Shanguro of Number 4710 Manyame Park, who is now aged 15 years, reportedly suffered a high voltage shock on September 8, 2012 after he accidentally came into contact with a live cable installed by ZETDC.

He was represented by his father David Shanguro.

In a judgment delivered on November 7, 2018 by Justice Moses Foroma, Shanguro was assessed as having suffered a 75% disability as a result of loss of the left upper limb and emotional disturbance from the trauma.

The court also noted that the teenager sustained extensive injuries, including gangrenous (infected) left upper limb resulting in amputation, and numerous deep burns to the scalp, face and back.

Initially, Shanguro was seeking $200 000 as compensation for severe pain and suffering permanent disability and disfigurement, $100 000 for loss of amenities in life, $100 000 for loss of future earning capacity and $100 000 for loss of expectation of life.

But in his determination, Justice Foroma said the claimed amounts were too high “considering that the whole purpose of awards for damages for personal injuries is compensation and not punishment for the wrong doer”.

“While the assessment of quantum of damages is an attempt by the law to repair a wrong done to or suffered by the person who has suffered personal injuries, the non-existence of scales by which the said damages are measured necessarily means that there is no likelihood of uniformity in the awards made,” Justice Foroma said.

“… It is important to note that as a result of demonetisation of the Zimbabwe dollar as a currency, most of the cases, which may have provided useful guide, are totally unhelpful in Zimbabwe to date, where the economy is based on a multi-currency basket.”

Justice Foroma ordered that the boy be paid $20 000 being damages for severe pain and suffering permanent disability and disfigurement,
$10 000 for loss of amenities in life, $5 000 for loss of future earning capacity and $5 000 for loss of expectation of life and cost of suit.

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