Harare, September 25, 2014 – A man who was offered peanuts by State
power company ZESA Holdings after being electrocuted and hospitalised
for close to a year due to the parastatal’s negligence is demanding
over $500 000 in compensation.
Munashe Magwaza was left wheelchair bound after stepping on ZESA
Holdings electric cables left naked by negligent ZESA workers. He
has decided to approach the High Court to force the parastatal to
compensate him after ZESA showed no remorse for its workers’
Once employed as a security guard, Magwaza is now on a wheelchair for
life and was dismissed from work after stepping on cables negligently
left naked by ZESA staff on his way from work on 10 August 2006.
ZESA, through its insurers Cell Insurance Company, offered him $11 480
as compensation, money which Magwaza says is peanuts given his
situation. Left vulnerable and snubbed by ZESA despite several
approaches, Magwaza sought help from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
(ZLHR), which is pursuing the case to ensure justice is done.
Kennedy Masiye of ZLHR is representing Magwaza.
In papers filed at the High Court recently, Magwaza is demanding $100
000 being damages for severe pain and suffering, $200 000 for
permanent disfigurement and disability, $50 000 for loss of amenities
in life and contumelia, $105 000 for loss of future earnings capacity
and $50 000 for loss of expectation of life.
Masiye said ZESA showed no compassion for Magwaza who was heavily
injured and lost his job as a result of the power firm’s carelessness.
His employer terminated Magwaza’s contract of employment in January
2007 after “taking care” of him for six months while on sick leave on
full and half salary. In terminating Magwaza’s contract, Motox
Enterprises said it needed to find a replacement for his position
because of increased thefts at the work place emanating from his
six-month absence from work.
His lawyer Masiye said all this was weighing heavily on the former
security guard. “Magwaza suffered serious injuries on his body and
these include neurological injuries which resulted in damages to nerve
endings causing the loss of neural control over vital organs namely
his limbs,” said Masiye.
“Because of the permanent damages which include physical debilitations
namely paralysis as well as psychological and neurological effects
caused by the powerful electrical currents travelling through the
body, Magwaza is now wheelchair bound after he lost mobility and use
of his limbs.
“All of this has created substantial financial obligations while
eliminating his ability to work forcing his dismissal from work.
Despite several appeals for assistance to ZESA nothing was forthcoming
from the company until ZLHR lawyers intervened,” he said, adding that
Magwaza was hurt by the “ridiculous offer from ZESA.”
Magwaza is a breadwinner, has a family and a child attending primary
school and has responsibility to look after his parents who reside in
the rural areas.
In court papers, Masiye said ZESA acknowledged liability and on the
8th of October 2012 paid out $11 480 as special damages. But the money
was a mockery, said Masiye.
“The Plaintiff (Magwaza) was hospitalised for nine months at Harare
Central Hospital. Whilst in hospital he was in pain and had to undergo
major surgeries that include skin grafting. Plaintiff has suffered
loss of amenities of life in that he can no longer have the blessing
of any unclouded mind, healthy body, sound limbs and the ability to
conduct unaided basic functions of life such as running, eating and
dressing,” said Masiye.
The Legal Monitor