Woman wins first round of liability action after Pollsmoor lane crash

Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town.

  • A woman who slipped on a path at Pollsmoor Prison has been given the green light to claim damages for the incident.
  • She was visiting a family member in prison in 2017 when a piece of concrete broke loose and she fell, spraining her ankle.
  • The Departments of Corrections and Public Works argued that as a frequent visitor, she would have known the condition of the path and could even have arranged the fall.

The Western Cape High Court has ruled that corrections and public works departments are liable for damages suffered by a woman who slipped at Pollsmoor Prison while visiting a relative.

Judge Hayley Slingers dismissed the attempt to blame the woman saying she should have watched where she was going and should have known the path was uneven as she makes frequent trips to the jail.

The departments had also suggested that she staged the incident, but the court found they had not substantiated any of these allegations.

The woman slipped when a piece of concrete on the path near the visitor center broke in April 2017.

According to Slingers’ ruling on Wednesday, corrections officials recovered a pillow for her head and an umbrella to protect her from the sun as she lay on the ground with a sprained ankle.

She had fallen right next to an aloe plant that was also partially blocking the path. Six of the officials helped her into the car when her lift arrived.

In December 2017, she filed the lawsuit for damages, claiming the two departments were responsible for maintaining the path.

READ | Former corrections boss retired before facing disciplinary action for improper tender

The path was repaired the following year with leftover paving bricks from a previous job. When applying, the departments argued that no one else had fallen on the way before, that she knew the way, and that she may have even arranged the fall.

The court heard testimony from an architect and a health and safety specialist, as well as some members of the Tokai prison maintenance staff.

The court declared the department 100% liable for the damages which have yet to be quantified.

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