Litigation: RAF ordered to pay injured policeman R2m

The Road Accident Fund (RAF) has been ordered to pay a police officer R2m in damages and income loss, after a car crash left him confined to an office, doing administrative work 17 years ago. A Cape Times report says Zephania Marwaneng was injured in a motor vehicle accident in September 2004, which left him unable to do his normal police constable work. He suffered fractures to both legs, resulting in his left leg being slightly shorter than his right. He has a slight limp and cannot walk or drive for long distances. Following the crash, Marwaneng assumed a vetting investigator position which, he explained, involves the checking of case dockets to determine whether further investigation is merited. He then instituted a claim for damages against the RAF for R1.8m.

The parties had reached agreement as to general damages worth R450 000, leaving the Northern Cape High Court (Kimberley) to decide on his loss of income. The Cape Times report says Marwaneng’s actuary had been instructed to calculate his loss of earnings, based on a contingency of 5% in respect of past loss of earnings, and 35% in respect of future loss of earnings. She submitted that, though the contingency for future loss of earnings is much higher than the normal deduction of 15%, it addresses the aspects raised by the industrial psychologists in their individual reports, including the predicted slower career progression. Marwaneng argued that most of his colleagues, with whom he had started training in the SAPS, were now warrant officers and that he thought that he could also be at that rank now had it not been for the accident. ‘Ms. Barnard (the actuary) has based her calculations on the projected pre-morbid and post-morbid career paths, and potential earnings of the plaintiff as provided by Ms. Brink, considering the contingencies, and has determined a past loss of income of R283 341 and a future loss of income of R1 334 599.’ The court noted the total loss of income amounts to R1 617 940, and ordered that the RAF pay R2 067 940 to Marwaneng’s attorney’s trust account.

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