Judge grants Komape family leave to appeal parts of his ruling

Limpopo High Court Judge Gerrit Muller has granted the Komape family leave to appeal parts of his April ruling. 

Tuesday's ruling grants leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal in respect of the R2m claim for grief the family suffered, and for future medical expenses and loss of earnings. The family can also appeal in respect of declaratory relief. The judge has, however, declined leave to appeal in respect of claim for emotional trauma and shock. The family was seeking R940 000. 

Muller had ruled in April that two of Michael's siblings be paid R6 000 each for general medical expenses.


Michael Komape’s parents, Rosina and James Komape, and his brother Lucas, at court. (Photo: Ciaran Ryan, GroundUp)

READ:  Michael Komape case: Judgment to be delivered in application for leave to appeal

Five-year-old Michael Komape drowned after he fell into a pit toilet at his school in 2014. 

According to legal advocacy group Section 27, which represented the family, the High Court failed to recognise the multiple related functions and purposes of compensation for the vindication of constitutional rights.

Muller also found in April that the state failed to perform its obligations towards pupils in the province, including Michael, resulting in his death. The Court held that the failure to fulfil these obligations resulted in the violations of a number of rights of Limpopo pupils, including the right to basic education. 

"Section 27 did not appeal the structural order on the basis that it has the potential to vindicate the rights of Limpopo learners to safe and adequate sanitation. All other aspects of the judgment were appealed on the basis that the court failed to sufficiently acknowledge the trauma and grief of the Komape family," the advocacy group said in a statement.

Section 27 says it will seek further advice from senior counsel in the case. It intends to file an application for leave to appeal directly to the Supreme Court of Appeal in respect of the R2m claim. It will file a notice of appeal in respect of the declaratory relief and the other claims.