Komape v Minister of Basic Education and Others
5 year old Michael Komape died in January 2014 when he fell into a dilapidated pit toilet at his school in the rural Chebeng Village, in Limpopo. Michael’s family is seeking damages from the Minister of Basic Education, and the MEC for Education in Limpopo, arising from Michael’s death. The EELC is representing Equal Education. On 13 June 2016, Judge Mokgohloa ordered that Equal Education be admitted as amicus curiae (friend of the court).
EE seeks to show the court its history of engaging with the Department about the crisis in school infrastructure, and the manner in which the Department delayed, and continues to delay, in taking steps to protect learners from dangerous environments at school.
The Supreme Court of Appeal judgment was handed down on 18 December 2019.
On 13 September 2019, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) overturned the Polokwane High Court’s refusal to award the Komape family damages in recognition of their emotional shock and grief. The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) awarded the Komape family R1.4 million for emotional shock and grief after the loss of their five year-old son Michael. The Limpopo High Court ordered the state to provide a list of all schools with pit toilets within 90 days along with plans to eradicate them. The state is to provide the court with reports every six months on progress towards eliminating pit toilets.
The structural interdict ordered by the Supreme Court continues to be monitored.
View Some Relevant Court Documents below:
- View Judge Mokgohloa’s judgment in Equal Education’s application to be admitted as Amicus Curiae
- View the Heads of Argument of Equal Education in the Application to be Admitted as Amicus Curiae
- View Equal Education’s Heads of Argument
- Plaintiffs Heads of Argument
- Defendants Heads of Argument
- View Judgment
- Supreme Court of Appeal: Appellants’ Heads of Argument
- Supreme Court of Appeal: Respondents’ Heads of Argument
- Supreme Court of Appeal: Equal Education Heads of Argument
- High Court: Respondents Report to Court (2018)
- Supreme Court of Appeal: Judgment
- High Court: Equal Education response to report (2018)
- High Court: Equal Education supplementary report (2020)
- School sanitation – The law and the horror of the death of Michael Komape
- Using the common law to realise basic rights in South Africa: The case of Komape v Minister of Basic Education
- Preview: Parents of drowned child seek justice
- Komape family wins court battle seven years after their son drowned in a pit toilet
- Komape family awarded R1.4 million for emotional shock and grief