The Passenger Rail Agency (Prasa) has been ordered to fully compensate a train passenger who lost his leg when he was pushed through the open door of an over-crowded train two years ago.
Nare Morena of Tembisa instituted a damages claim of over R3.3 million against Prasa after the incident late one afternoon at the Kempton Park station in October 2015.
The amount he must receive will be determined later. Morena was on his way home, but could not sit because the train was full and he had to hang onto a railing.
When the train stopped at Kempton Park, some commuters wanted to board while others wanted to leave.
Morena said the train door was open when it arrived at Elandsfontein station where he boarded and remained open the whole time.
He said the train started moving at Kempton Park while passengers were still boarding and getting off, causing them to panic and then started pushing each other.
This caused him to lose his grip on the railing before he was pushed out of the open door. He fell onto the platform and an object from the body of the train hit his right leg, which was later amputated above the knee.
The train stopped after he fell and security guards assisted him. He was later taken to hospital in an ambulance.
The train driver testified that the train was delayed by an hour because of a signalling problem at the Jeppe station platform.
The delay created a backlog on the scheduled trains as a result and there were many people who wanted to board the train, causing further overloading.
He could not confirm if the train doors were open while the train was in motion and said it was the train guard’s duty to check if the doors were working, but no problems were reported.
He did not see the incident and said he only heard about it in 2016 when Morena’s investigator contacted him.
The guard did not testify. Acting Judge B Rangata said Morena had clearly fallen while the train was moving.
If the doors had been closed when it started, he would not have fallen.
Prasa had failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that commuters were safe and was liable for Morena’s damages.