Mashongwa v Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa

Case No. Lower Court Judgments Hearing Date
CCT 3/15 Gauteng Local Division, 1 Oct. 2013
SCA, 28 Nov. 2014
6 Aug. 2015

By Duncan Wild on 30 June 2015

The case involves whether the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (“PRASA“) fulfilled its statutory and constitutional duties as an organ of state to take reasonable measures to provide for the safety of passengers, in particular, Mr Irvine Mashongwa, and in particular, if it did fail to take such measures, was that failure causally connected to an attack that Mr Mashongwa suffered whilst travelling on a train operated by PRASA.

On 1 January 2011, Mr Mashongwa was attacked and robbed whilst travelling on a train operated by PRASA by three attackers. Mr Mashongwa was thrown from the train by his assailants and suffered severe injuries, and his leg was amputated. Mr Mashongwa was successful in the High Court, but the Supreme Court of Appeal overturned that decision on the basis that even if PRASA had taken additional steps to secure the train (in particular, having security guards on the train, and ensuring the coach doors were closed), it was not apparent that the attack would not have occured.  In other words, PRASA’s conduct did not cause Mr Mashongwa’s attack.

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