OK Zim to pay damages to shelf collapse victim

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BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
OK ZIMBABWE has been ordered to pay US$51 000 in damages to a Harare man Tizai Chiswanda after his daughter suffered permanent injuries when a shop shelf collapsed on her in 2015.

Chiswanda demanded compensation, but the retail chain ignored it, resulting in the High Court case.

Chiswanda claimed special damages for past medical expenses, disposable diapers, past transport costs, pain and suffering, permanent disability, disfigurement, loss of amenities of life, future medical and transport costs totalling US$51 982,93.

During the trial, it was discovered that the shelf which crushed the child’s leg was made of steel, and one of its stands was broken and supported by a farm brick.

The supermarket had claimed that the child was to blame because she climbed onto the shelf, but Chiswanda pointed out that the shelf was not serviced and the steel holders had corroded.

Another shopper testified in support of Chiswanda saying it was impossible for the girl to climb the shelf because it had wire mesh.

Justice Owen Tagu then ruled against the retail chain.

“Chiswanda, therefore, proved all requirements…that there was unlawful conduct by the OK Zimbabwe Supermarket and they created a dangerous environment by displaying a monstrous shelf which was not mounted at all,” Justice Tagu ruled.

“The conduct of the defendant, therefore, led to the physical harm to the minor child…On the date the summonses were amended, it sounded in Zimdollars by operation of the law and cannot be subject to any further conversion. OK Zimbabwe be and is hereby ordered to pay to the plaintiff a total sum of US$51 982 at the rate of 1:1 as damages.”

The retail giant was also ordered to pay interest on the amount at the prescribed rate from April, 2015 to date of full payment as well as costs of suit.

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