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Man loses fingers at Chinese factory

Local News
The man, Actor Tinashe Chitiki, is demanding compensation from Sunny Yiefeng tile manufacturer for permanent disability, pain and loss of future earnings.

A HARARE man is suing a Chinese tile manufacturer seeking compensation after he lost fingers while operating one of the company’s machines.

The man, Actor Tinashe Chitiki, is demanding compensation from Sunny Yiefeng tile manufacturer for permanent disability, pain and loss of future earnings.

Chitiki was employed as a machine operator at the firm’s tile manufacturing plant in Norton.

He said his fingers were crushed when the machine he was operating was switched on without warning.

He cited National Social Security Authority (Nssa) and Sunny Yiefeng as respondents in his application.

According to court papers on July 16, 2021, Chitiki issued summons against Sunny Yiefeng demanding US$15 000 for pain and suffering arising from the injuries he sustained while at work.

He was also demanding a further US$15 000 as damages for loss of future earnings.

In his submissions, he indicated that Sunny Yiefeng had not registered him with Nssa as prescribed by law.

But the company argued that Chitiki was injured due to his own negligence.

The company submitted that the sawmill he was operating jammed, and without instruction, Chitiki proceeded to insert his hand in the gear section of the sawmill “wherein upon starting it, it crushed his fingers”.

However, in his application for joinder for Nssa, he submitted that the statutory body was an interested party.

Nssa, however, said Chitiki had the option to sue, to seek compensation for injuries suffered at the workplace in terms of the National Social Security Authority Act [Chapter 17:04] instaed of suing his employer for damages under the common law for delict.

Sunny Yiefeng also argued that Nssa should be allowed to focus on its mandate, which includes addressing the welfare of pensioners.

Justice Benjamin Chikowero, who heard the matter, dismissed the application to include Nssa in the matter saying Chitiki appeared not to have been given sound legal advice.

“He [Chitiki] instituted the application for joinder at a time when he was still a self-actor. Instead of filing heads of argument on assuming agency for the applicant in the application which is the subject of this judgment, it seems to me that counsel [Chitiki’s lawyer] should simply have filed a notice of withdrawal of the application, tendering wasted costs,” Justice Chikowero ruled.

“Counsel’s conduct of filing heads of argument coupled with a later committing to appear at the hearing and then not doing so is deplorable. It is dumping a case in the justice delivery system.”

The judge added: “The slot on the court roll could have been allocated to some other matter. I am not satisfied that there are special considerations justifying an order of punitive costs.

“I cannot penalise the applicant for what appears to me to be the sins of his legal practitioners.

“In the result, it is ordered that the application be and is dismissed and the applicant shall pay the first respondent [Nssa] costs of suit.”

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