De Broglio Attorneys has notched up a victory for parents who are dependent on their working children’s income, by securing a Road Accident Fund (RAF) payout for a mother whose son died in a mining accident.
Dumisani Ndlovu*, a miner at the Douglas Mine near Witbank in Mpumalanga, died after a tipper truck fell on him on 3 July 2006. This tragedy devastated his family, and the loss was felt even more acutely since Dumisani had been financially supporting his mother, Boniswa*, and his sister.
In terms of the law, a dependent of a person who has been killed in a road accident may claim against the RAF. However, this is usually limited to the minor children or spouse of a deceased worker who was the main breadwinner in the household.
In the case of Boniswa, she said she had been receiving money from her son every month and consequently claimed loss of support from the Fund, which declined to make her a settlement offer.
De Broglio then ran the matter in the High Court, with Boniswa giving credible and persuasive evidence-in-chief to corroborate her contention that she had relied on her late son for financial support.
The presiding judge ruled that Dumisani had, indeed, supported his mother and had he been alive, he would have contributed about R1 400 per month to her upkeep. Boniswa was awarded the sum of R174 000 for loss of support, after deductions.
“This case sets an important precedent, as it is a reality in South Africa that entire extended families often depend on the monetary support of a single breadwinner,” says Michael de Broglio. “This outcome will give hope to bereaved dependents who have already suffered the loss of a loved one in an accident, and are faced with an uncertain financial future.
“What is also significant is that accidents involving mining vehicles – or even horse-drawn carts or tractors – are also eligible for claims under the Road Accident Fund Act.”
*Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality