Thursday, 13 April 2006
Guards hit by night train sue for R2.9m
Mzolisi Witbooi, Staff Reporter
Two former security guards hit by a train while on duty are suing Metrorail for more than R1 million each. In papers before the Cape High Court, Sijonjile Ncaza, 29, of Khayelitsha, and Siyavuma Njaleka, 30, of Delft, argue Metrorail was liable for the accident, which happened at 10.45pm when trains were supposed to have been stationary overnight.
All the parties appeared in a civil trial before Judge Andre Blignaut yesterday. At the time, the guards were contracted by Kuffs Security Services to render services to Metrorail. Njaleka and Ncaza claimed that on February, 3, 2003, they were hit by a train driven by a certain J C Human while they were patrolling the railway line between Woodstock and Cape Town.
Human and the South African Rail Commuter Corporation are also defendants in the matter The guards say the accident was caused by the negligence of Human, Metrorail, and the SARCC in failing to warn them that the train was approaching. They were “aware that the railway line was patrolled at night after 10pm by security guards” and “they failed to warn Kuffs of the unscheduled journey of the train.”
They accused Human of failing to apply brakes timeously or flashing lights. Ncaza, who is claiming R1.8m, suffered several injuries, including a very severe diffuse brain injury and a lacerated spleen. Njaleka, who is claiming R1.1m “is permanently physically disabled and had suffered shock, pain and discomfort after the accident”, said court papers. But Metrorail, the corporation and Human had hit back at the two guards saying that “the sole cause of the collision was due to their negligence”.
They accuse the guards of failing to “keep a proper lookout, acting with due care and failing to avoid the accident when they should have done so”. They also said they knew nothing about the injuries and challenged them to bring proof.