Commuter’s train ‘fall’ claim dismissed

By Zelda Venter Time of article published Sep 21, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - A commuter’s claim that negligence on the part of the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) caused him to fall from a moving train shortly before it reached a station, has been dismissed by the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria.

Justice Zihor told the court he fell from the train in July, 2017 while it was approaching the platform at Kopanong station in Soshanguve, and as a result, he broke three bones in his left leg.

He said he had a valid ticket and was travelling from Mabopane to Pretoria.

Zihor said that before the train reached Kopanong, some passengers from the back coaches of the train came through to the coach he was in.

As a result of the pressure from these passengers, he was pushed through an open door of the coach and fell out before the train reached the platform.

According to Zihor, the train had no doors and windows, or straps to hold onto, and he did not remember what happened after he fell and only woke up in hospital the following day.

However, paramedics said he was fully conscious when they arrived at the scene, and spoke to them.

According to the paramedics, the incident happened at night, as they were only called to the scene after 8pm.

They testified that they could, at first, not locate the injured man at the station, but later found him some distance away.

Judge Nomonde Mngqibisa-Thusi found that given the time of the fall, when the emergency services were called to the scene, Zihor could not have been on the train he claimed he was on.

The judge said Zihor was an unimpressive witness, particularly when taking into account inconsistencies in his evidence.

He could not explain how he boarded the train at around 2pm, yet the fall only happened later that night.

She accepted Prasa’s version that he illegally boarded a non-passenger train that evening, and when he realised it did not stop where he wanted to disembark, he simply jumped off.

Cape Times

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